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Petrol prices in South Africa are directly proportional to international fuel prices, like in most other countries. According to data from tradingeconomics the prices of fuel haven’t dropped below R 12.50 per liter in the last decade. It only reached a high of R 28.96 per liter this year. 

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This slump to the lowest price in the decade was in early 2020 due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdowns were imposed in several countries worldwide, including South Africa, to control the spread of the virus. 

These lockdowns led to a reduction in the demand for fuel. Eventually, prices of fuel came down drastically following the laws of supply and demand. The highest price, on the other hand, came due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The invasion attracted sanctions from western countries. Sanctions were applied on Russian oil, which accounts for approximately 10% of the world’s oil supply. These sanctions destabilized the international oil supply, leading to an increase in the price of fuel.

Fuel Price Trend for the Past 10 Years

According to SAPIA, the fuel prices in South Africa for 2022 so far are higher on average than 10 years ago. In 2012, the average price of 95 LRP (Lead Replacement Petroleum) was 1122.58 c/l (cents per liter). 

That year the price of 95 ULP (Unleaded Petrol) was also an average of 1122.58 c/l. Diesel 0.05%, on the other hand, was 1051.39 c/l, while diesel 0.005% was 1056.79 c/l. Illuminating paraffin was 703.301 c/l, and Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) was 2033.42 c/kg (cents per kilogram). 

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According to the petroleum industry association, the average price of 95 LRP (Lead Replacement Petroleum) was 1659.50 c/l in 2021. In the same year, the price of 95 ULP (Unleaded Petrol) also averaged 1659.50 c/l. Diesel 0.05% was an average of 1444.48 c/l, while diesel 0.005% averaged 1456.13 c/l. Illuminating paraffin was, on average 776.64 c/l, and Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) was, on average, 2778.75 c/kg.

Fuel Prices in 2022

In 2022, the South African Petroleum Industry Association (SAPIA) reported new data on fuel prices so far from January to September. 

SAPIA reported that the prices of both 95 LRP (Lead Replacement Petroleum) and 95 ULP (Unleaded Petrol) on 5th January were 1889 c/l. 

On the same day of that month, diesel 0.05% was 1663.18 c/l while diesel 0.005% was 1666.58 c/l. Illuminating paraffin was 1014.79 c/l, and Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) was 3259 c/kg.

On 2nd February 2022, the prices for both 95 LRP (Lead Replacement Petroleum) and 95 ULP (Unleaded Petrol) were 1942 c/l. That same day of the month, diesel 0.05% was 1743.02 c/l while diesel 0.005% was 1745.42 c/l. Illuminating paraffin was 1115.79 c/l, and Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) was 3134 c/kg.

On 2nd March, the prices for both 95 LRP (Lead Replacement Petroleum) and 95 ULP (Unleaded Petrol) were 2088 c/l. On the same day, the price of diesel 0.05% was 1887.38 c/l, while diesel 0.005% was 1893.78 c/l. Illuminating paraffin was 1236.79 c/l, and Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) was 3204 c/kg.

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At the beginning of March 2022, fuel prices shot up after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions from Western countries. The report puts the price for both 95 LRP (Lead Replacement Petroleum) and 95 ULP (Unleaded Petrol) on 6th April at 2124 c/l. 

On the same day of that month, diesel 0.05% was 2039.94 c/l while diesel 0.005% was 2062.34 c/l. Illuminating paraffin was 1502.79 c/l, and Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) was 3454 c/kg.

On 4th May, the prices for both 95 LRP (Lead Replacement Petroleum) and 95 ULP (Unleaded Petrol) were 2109 c/l. On that day, the price of diesel 0.05% was 2134.24 c/l while diesel 0.005% was 2150.64 c/l. Illuminating paraffin was 1585.89 c/l, and Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) was 3523 c/kg.

On 1st June 2022, the prices for both 95 LRP (Lead Replacement Petroleum) and 95 ULP (Unleaded Petrol) were 2352 c/l. That same day, diesel 0.05% retailed at 2244.24 c/l while diesel 0.005% was 2257.64 c/l. Illuminating paraffin was 1741.89 c/l, and Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) was 3472 c/kg.

On 6th July 2022, the prices for both 95 LRP (Lead Replacement Petroleum) and 95 ULP (Unleaded Petrol) were 2609.00 c/l. On the same day, the price of diesel 0.05% was 2475.24 c/l while diesel 0.005% was 2487.64 c/l. Illuminating paraffin was 1907.088 c/l, and Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) was 3255 c/kg.

On 3rd August 2022, the SAPIA report puts the price for both 95 LRP (Lead Replacement Petroleum) and 95 ULP (Unleaded Petrol) at 2477 c/l. On the same day, diesel 0.05% was 2387.24 c/l while diesel 0.005% was 2396.64 c/l. Illuminating paraffin was 1763.088 c/l, and Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) was 3311 c/kg.

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On the 7th of September, the prices for both 95 LRP (Lead Replacement Petroleum) and 95 ULP (Unleaded Petrol) were 2273 c/l. That same day of the month, diesel 0.05% was 2330.90 c/l while diesel 0.005% was 2350.30 c/l. Illuminating paraffin was 1681.088 c/l, and Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) was 3146 c/kg.

According to the CEO of Liquid Fuel Wholesalers Association, Peter Morgan, South African fuel prices depend majorly on four global factors. These factors are:

  • Fuel sale numbers in countries abroad
  • Stock levels in different jurisdictions
  • The behaviors of OPEC
  • Geopolitical issues

Conclusion

Petrol prices change often. These changes are caused by different reasons. This article has delved into some of the petrol price intricacies. The next time you see a price drop or price hike in your favorite refueling station, it could be as a result of one of the reasons explored above. 

The rate of change has also been explained properly. Sometimes, these changes occur in a short time, while in other cases, it takes time before they occur. In most cases, sudden fuel price changes occur because of global emergencies and issues in the supply chain. 

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