More petrol pain likely in August

MORE stiflingly steep petrol prices could be in store for motorists – hit by record-breaking fuel prices today – next month.

This was the view of experts, who yesterday predicted more pain for road users in August. Efficient Group economist Dawie Roodt predicted a 25c increase for August, adding that the increase could be greater should the rand continue to slide against the dollar, and the crude oil price, which was roughly at $77 a barrel at 6pm yesterday, continued to rise.

“We are now paying more for fuel than ever before in the history of our country and this is going to have a significant impact on the growth of the economy,” Roodt said.

Neil Roets, chief executive of Debt Rescue, said the almost-monthly increases in the fuel price were going to add significantly to the dire circumstances faced by deeply indebted consumers.

“Despite government promises to have another look at the 1% Value-Added Tax (VAT) increase, nothing has happened so far. The cost of water and electricity in Joburg and Cape Town are increasing, as is the price of food and pretty much everything else,” Roets said.

This week, Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla echoed the view that the VAT rate of 15% had debilitating effects, saying that government should intervene on behalf of the poor. “The price of food is also going to go up; as fuel increases, so does the price of food,” Pamla said.

This follows Sunday’s announcement by Energy Minister Jeff Radebe of a 23c increase in the price of 95 octane petrol, which took the fuel to a record price of R16.02 in inland provinces last night.

Radebe pointed to the rand’s depreciation against major currencies, including the dollar, last month, where the local currency fell from R12.51 to R13.29 to the dollar in the period under review. The dollar-quoted Brent crude oil, however, fell from $77 to $74 in the period, but this could not stop the government from raising prices for this month.

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