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Motorists to fork out record high fuel prices from midnight.

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN – As motorists prepare for record high fuel prices, there are warnings that more South Africans might be over-indebted.

From midnight, a litre of petrol will cost 82 cents more while diesel is going up 85 cents.

It’s the highest South Africans have ever paid for fuel.

This time last year, motorists breathed a sigh of relief with a 23 cents drop per litre of petrol and 25 cents for diesel.

Then a litre of petrol was hovering around the R13 mark.

But from midnight, motorists will fork out more with the price coming at just over R15 a litre.

Economist Viv Govender says the knock-on effect on consumers will be felt hard, especially when it comes to food prices.

“It’s something that goes through the whole community because every industry uses transport somewhere.”

Debt Rescue’s Neil Roets agrees.

“If they use the money that they have to try and make ends meet, there’s no room for creating any savings to begin with.”

The Energy Department has attributed the latest hike on the weaker rand and rising oil prices.

‘DEVASTATING EFFECT’

A consumer expert says the fuel price hike will have a devastating effect on Capetonians.

Consumer specialist Ina Wilken says the increase will have a ripple effect on everything, including food and transport.

“An absolute devastating effect because of everything increases. The moment that petrol price increases, every other commodity increases. Food is transported byways of either train, air or by big trucks; you can imagine they have to use patrol, so it’s got an effect.”

Last week, Golden Arrow announced that due to the recent fuel price increase, bus fares are expected to go up in July.

Eyewitness News spoke to some Cape Town commuters who say they’re concerned about the effect on their pockets.

“The cost of living is so high already, it’s tough especially on seniors,” one resident said.

“We are getting a government pension,” a woman said.

“It’s not good because all the prices are getting high and some people cannot afford because almost 60% of South Africans are unemployed,” a man added his voice.

Another man said: “The tax on fuel should come down, then it will bring down most of the items because transport cost will come down.”

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