Petrol price hike ‘will fuel debt’

Consumers will bear the brunt of Wednesday’s fuel price hike and can expect a respite only next year, say economists.

The price of petrol will increase by 32c a litre to R13.18 for unleaded at the coast, and diesel will go up by 33c to about R13.28.

It will be the fifth fuel increase this year and economists are predicting further increases.

Absa economist Jacques du Toit said the fuel increases would lead to higher food prices as many goods were transported via rail and road.

“In the end, consumers are the most affected. Businesses will also be affected as their operating costs will increase, as well as electricity and labour.”

Standard Bank economist Goolam Ballim said oil prices were hovering at record highs.

“South African households have experienced notable pressure on their real income in recent months. Accelerating inflation has eroded their real purchase power. A more restrained credit environment has also retarded consumers’ spending ability,” he said.

Ballim said consumers might have a respite only early in 2014, and in the meantime more measured household budgets were essential.

Neil Roets, chief executive of debt counselling firm Debt Rescue, said most South Africans were barely managing to keep their heads above water.

The additional debt consumers were going to have to incur to make ends meet was going to add considerably to total consumer debt, he said. – The Argus

AA FUEL-SAVING TIPS

Don’t overfill. If the tank of your car is full, don’t park in the sun or on a slope with the filler facing downhill.

Use the correct octane fuel. Using a fuel of a higher octane rating than that recommended for your car does not improve its performance.

Avoid soft tyres. Tyre pressure that is too low not only increases consumption but also reduces tyre life.

Use multigrade oil. Multigrade oil in the engine will reduce drag.

Avoid stop-start driving. Learn to read traffic patterns by anticipating traffic light changes so that braking and accelerating are minimised.

Drive smoothly. Heavy braking and accelerating waste fuel.

Close your windows. Open windows create drag that increases fuel consumption by as much as 20 percent.

Use your handbrake on hills. Never ride the clutch to hold your car on an incline as it wastes fuel and reduces the life of your clutch. With an automatic transmission, never use the accelerator to hold the car against an incline.

Pool your resources. Get involved with lift clubs. – Automobile Association of South Africa

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