South Africa
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September expected to bring more fuel price relief

With motorists reeling from a series of fuel price hikes this year, September is expected to bring some relief for the second month running.

According to the latest Central Energy Fund data, a stronger rand and lower international petroleum costs point to a possible R2.63/l reduction in the retail price of 95 octane unleaded petrol, a R2.48 reduction for 93 octane unleaded and a drop of up to R2.37 in the wholesale price of diesel next month.

This follows a price cut of R1.32/l for both grades of petrol at the beginning of August, while the wholesale price of high sulphur diesel (0.05%) decreased by 88c and low sulphur diesel (0.005%) by 91c. Illuminating paraffin dropped by R1.44/l .

The decreases took place despite the reimposition of the full R1.50/l fuel levy at the beginning of August, after government introduced a two-month R1.50 reduction in the petrol and diesel levy in April and May, which was adjusted to 75c/l in June and July.

Fuel prices are adjusted on the first Wednesday of every month and the department of mineral resources and energy said the cuts had been made possible by decreases in international prices for fuel. The price of Brent crude is about $100 a barrel after peaking at $123 earlier this year. The rand has also strengthened to about R16.30 to the dollar after hitting more than R17 in July.

It has been an expensive year for motorists with fuel prices reaching record levels in July after a series of hikes, and the expected price cuts will help ease their financial burden.

Mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe gazetted a notice on July 22 proposing a price cap on 93 octane petrol which would allow fuel retailers to discount prices, allowing motorists to shop around for the best deal, as they do for diesel. The retail price of petrol is set by government and it is illegal to sell at any other price.

The public was given 30 days to comment on the notice.

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