NOTE TO EDITORS:
The Automobile Association (AA) does not regulate or adjust fuel prices in South Africa, nor does it have any input in how the fuel prices are calculated.
Fuel prices are officially calculated and adjusted on the first Wednesday of every month by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy. The DMRE is the only entity which regulates, sets, and adjusts fuel prices in South Africa.
As a public service to consumers, the AA publishes two fuel price outlooks monthly – one mid-month, and one at the end of the month before the official announcement by the DMRE is made, usually two or three days before the first Wednesday of the new month.
The AA publishes these forecasts to alert the public of looming changes to fuel prices, and the reasons for the changes. The AA relies on publicly available fuel price data from the Central Energy Fund (CEF) to compile its forecasts – a fact which is mentioned in every fuel price outlook issued by the AA. Along with the information relating to fuel price adjustments and providing context for them, the Association often provides useful tips to road users on how to conserve fuel, and tips for saving on fuel expenses.
Association advises journey limits as refinery shuts down
Is your journey really necessary?
The Automobile Association (AA) calls on South Africans to limit all non-essential travel as road transport comes under pressure from unrest and the spectre of fuel shortages. The Association also warns that unaudited mid-month fuel price data from the Central Energy Fund reflected a risk of substantial fuel price hikes at month-end.
“Fuel prices were already trending higher before the widespread looting and unrest of the past few day. But now, the daily Rand/US dollar exchange rate has spiked from R14.35 to nearly R14.80 since 12 June. South Africa imports a lot of fuel, which will inevitably cost more in Rand terms. Meanwhile, international oil prices remain on the advance, adding further pressure,” says the AA.
The mid-month data indicates that petrol is set for an increase of 87 cents a litre, diesel 58 cents and illuminating paraffin 56 cents, and the AA says it expects little respite before month-end. The Association notes that while the supply of fuel will not push the prices of fuels higher, the weakening Rand as a result of the riots will play a major role as the echange rate is a key indicator for the local fuel price.
In a related development, South African Petroleum Refiners (SAPREF), which runs a massive refinery complex in Durban supplying 35% of South Africa’s refined fuel, has declared force majeure.
“SAPREF’s declaraction of force majeure means that events beyond its control – the recent lawlessness – has forced it to shut down the refinery,” the Association explains.
The AA warns that if an operational refinery were to be overrun by criminals, surrounding areas would be at great risk.
“Past disasters involving refineries have polluted wide areas and claimed hundreds of lives, so SAPREF’s caution is justified. If the shutdown were to be protracted though, it could impact considerably on fuel supply to many areas, including Gauteng and other northern provinces inland,” it adds.
The Association advises motorists to avoid unnecessary journeys and to buy no more fuel than necessary, to preserve current stocks for essential and emergency services.
“We also advise citizens to work remotely where possible, and our plea to business is to accommodate the difficulties their staff may face if mass transit is affected by fuel shortages.”
The AA also adds that needless Rand weakness driven by the government’s ineffective response to the crisis would hit vulnerable citizens first and hardest.
“People who use paraffin for heating, lighting and cooking are rarely in a financial position to absorb large price hikes,” the Association concludes.