Petrol will cost more than a loaf of white bread after Wednesday’s price increase

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PHOTO: Neil McCartney

Experts were worried the rising petrol and diesel prices would add more pressure on consumers already struggling to keep up with all the increases.

After the price increase tomorrow a litre of petrol will cost more than a Black Label quart or a loaf of Albany white bread.

Figures
The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy announced Petrol 93 and 95 Unleaded Petrol (ULP) and LRP to increase by R0.51 while diesel will increase by R1.42 per litre.

According to the Automotive Association (AA) petrol prices in 2010 cost R8.04 for 93 UPL and R8.32 for 95UPL while diesel sold at R7.34 per litre.

By 2015, 93 UPL increased to R11.82 per litre while 95 UPL increased to R12.61 per litre and diesel R10.90.

In 2020 the petrol price increased to R13.88 for 93 UPL and R14.59 for 95 ULP and R12.29 for a litre of diesel.

Agricultural industry damaged
TLU SA General Manager Bennie van Zyl said the union wants to know what the government will do to stabilise the rising diesel price and keep farmers in production to ensure food was on people’s tables.

“Every resident of South Africa was affected by the rising diesel price,” he said.

Van Zyl said agriculture faced an extra challenge as several farmers reconsidered whether they could still plant profitably.

“There is no doubt that there are several farmers who now must look at the numbers to see if it is still profitable for them to plant with all the input costs that are increasing. The government must realise that there are big problems here if the situation is not addressed,” he said.

Transport business downscales
Faried Plaatjies owns a small transport company and said he had to scale down due to the increases which made it difficult for his business to keep its wheels turning.

“The petrol price is so expensive I had to cut on trips. When I fill up with R1200 it only lasts three days. So, I fill up regularly which hurts my pocket,” he said.

Plaatjies said he didn’t understand why we paid more money for petrol and fossil fuel, crude oil while neighbouring countries paid much less.

“We are suffering, we have a family to feed so we have to find a way to make it work,” he said.

Plaatjies said he had four vans which used more than R4000 petrol each month.

“I scaled down to two vans and now pay R5000 per van per month on fuel. So, the profit is getting less and less,” he said.

Expert opinion
Economist at Momentum Investments Sanisha Packirisamy said they were anticipating rising headwinds for the South African consumer in the coming quarters.

“Several sectors in the economy have not seen a full recovery in jobs since Covid with low-income workers showcasing the largest gap relative to pre-pandemic levels. Even though wages for those who stayed in employment recovered faster than anticipated, the inequality gap has risen in South Africa, placing more pressure on people,” she said.

Packirisamy said spending money travelling was fading as a rise in the cost of living has crowded out spending on discretionary items.

“Higher interest rates and a reluctance to borrow point to muted consumer spending ahead, while built-up savings have been eroded,” she said.

Financial Educator and Business Consultant Grace Edwards said more people asked her how to survive the increases and make ends meet.

Edwards said the petrol increases were problematic because many people struggled to fill up their grocery baskets let alone their cars.

“There’s a lot of anxiety and stress on the public about affordability and the cost of living,” she said.

Edwards said people’s income didn’t increase with the cost of living.

“It’s a vicious cycle, like a hamster in a wheel that can’t jump off,” she said.

“A big percentage goes to travel and housing, leaving people with little percentage left to feed and clothe themselves. The proposition is way out,” she said.

Marizka Coetzee/The Citizen