Concerns mount ahead of possible hefty fuel price hike

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South Africans could face a record fuel price hike of almost R4 a litre this week unless government steps in with an extension of the fuel tax levy.

Government introduced a temporary cut in the levy for April and May amid the hope that global energy prices might stabilise.

In late March, government reduced the General Fuel Levy by R1,50 for April and May. This brought temporary relief to consumers.

However, from next month, consumers will have to deal with the rising fuel costs, minus the relief.

The AA’s Layton Beard says: “This is obviously very concerning to the Automobile Association, and we are rapidly nearing the end of May. In March, when government announced the relief of R1,50 on the fuel levy, it said it would be announcing further proposals to mitigate against raising fuel costs and we eagerly await governments of what those proposals are before the of the month.”

Calls for longer term solutions

If the fuel levy is discontinued, this would mean further hardships for consumers.

Consumer activist, Ina Wilken, says government needs to find a longer-term solution for the steep fuel hikes.

“Once again, the consumer is paying the brunt for the inadequacy of government. How on earth can government now increase petrol? It is going to have a devastating effect on everything consumers buy or do. They promised that they will lift the levy on fuel end of May, nothing has happened so far. Isn’t it time that you have a look at your own people and start considering your own people, they just can’t afford it anymore.”

There has been no communication from government on whether the relief will be extended.

The two main factors which influence local fuel prices are the Rand/US dollar exchange rate and international oil prices.

The Rand is currently trading weaker against the dollar and oil prices are also around 120 dollars a barrel.

Tough times ahead for public transport users 

Those using public transport will come under further financial pressures as bus and taxi fares could increase again.

As fuel prices are expected to rise sharply on Wednesday, this  will impact on other expenses.

In the video below, Reporter Patricia Visagie and video journalist Thabo Mtshweni track the daily, multi-leg journey of a commuter who already spends about two thirds of her salary on public transport: