How and Why Fuel Price Increases in 2019 Will Affect South Africans’ Wallets: How to Save

How and Why Fuel Price Increases in 2019 Will Affect South Africans’ Wallets: How to Save

South Africans just don’t seem to be able to catch a break. Everything seems to be getting more expensive – from electricity costs, to fuel taxes, to DSTV. We’ve seen three increases in fuel prices in 2019 alone. Countless people are worried, frustrated and downright angry, and rightfully so. Compared to other countries, South African fuel costs are ridiculously high. Did you know that in Venezuela, a litre of fuel costs less than R1? Granted, Venezuela has its own problems, but this massive difference in price makes us wonder exactly why South Africans are paying so much for fuel and why it just keeps getting more expensive.

South African taxes on fuel increased by 220% since 2008 from R1.76 to R5.63 in 2019. Fuel prices have also increased staggeringly in the past 11 years. August 2008 saw fuel prices sitting at around R8 a litre, whereas April 2019 clocks in at just under R16. Minister of Energy, Jeff Radebe, has blamed the rise in international crude oil prices for these increases, but what else is contributing?

While the rise of crude oil prices across the globe definitely plays the leading role, here are 3 other factors that lead to higher costs.
  • The international supply and demand for petroleum products
  • Freight costs involved in shipping fuel to refining centres from export centres in the Mediterranean, the Arab Gulf and Singapore
  • Ocean loss that occurs when ships that transport fuel take damage to their hulls.

How is this going to affect you?
We all know that an increase in fuel price usually leads to an increase of well, the costs of everything else. It starts a cruel cycle of rising costs. More expensive fuel leads to increased transport costs (as well as shipping costs and public transport prices), which in turn leads to increased product costs and to higher costs of living in general. Everyone is affected by it, from small business owners to farmers and everyone in between. This means that every South African now needs to tighten their budgets, limit their spending, and hope for the best. While there isn’t anything you can do to lower the cost of petrol itself, you can have a bit more control over how badly it affects your budget.

What can you do to stay afloat and still save money?
Maintaining your car is one of the most important things you can do in the face of fuel increases. Your car doesn’t need to be falling apart for you to have to take it in for a check-up. Make sure that your tyres are inflated properly and well aligned. Flat tyres increase resistance on the road and increase your fuel consumption. A well-maintained car is also less likely to break down, which would cost you a fortune all at once.

Driving efficiently might sound a bit strange, but it could help you get better mileage. Try to average 90km/h when driving on an open road instead of speeding. Speeding has been proven to consume more fuel than driving at a lower speed. This also goes for braking and accelerating sharply. Try to keep a larger following distance so that you can brake and accelerate gradually instead. Also make sure you only use your air-conditioning when driving over 80km/h, if you can.

Sharing a ride with others means taking your car and giving a few friends a lift and splitting the costs, or taking public transport every day. Public transport not only gives you more time to yourself on the way to campus or work, but its also a lot better for the environment.

Not driving at all seems to defeat the purpose, but driving only when you need to saves a significant amount of fuel each month. Instead of driving to nearby places, why not cycle or walk? You’ll be doing your health, your pocket and the environment a favour.

 Learning how to budget not only teaches you to manage exactly where your money is going, but it also strangely gives you more freedom. Having a budget that you actually stick to gives you a clear indication on how much you’re spending on what and how much you can save.

The last piece of advice we would like to give to our readers is to stay positive. It might seem completely arbitrary, but staying positive in the face of adversity might be one of your most valuable skills for the months to come. Share your advice with others and be open to new suggestions. If you have any suggestions or tips that would help others save fuel and/or money, leave a comment below. If you’d like to contribute an article instead, contact us on our website and we’ll be happy to discuss new content! As always, drive safely!  


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