The petrol price dropped in January, but is still R2.15 a litre higher than a year ago. Picture: SUPPLIED
The petrol price dropped in January, but is still R2.15 a litre higher than a year ago. Picture: SUPPLIED

The new year started happily for drivers of petrol cars when fuel prices dropped, though diesel owners were hit by a 9c a litre increase.

However, all motorists are paying substantially more for fuel than they did a year ago. Inland pump prices are now R16.16 for a litre of 95 octane unleaded petrol and R14.67 for 50 ppm diesel.

This is R2.15 (petrol) and R1.51 higher (diesel) than in January 2019, meaning that the cost of filling a 50l tank costs R107.50 (petrol) and R75.50 (diesel) more compared with a year ago. The good news is that the latest prices are still lower than their peak in 2018, at R17.08 for a litre of 95 unleaded and R16.12 for 50 ppm diesel.

Fluctuations in the international oil price and the rand/dollar exchange rate see fuel prices adjusted monthly by the Central Energy Fund (CEF). June 2019 also saw the introduction of a carbon tax levy, which added 9c/l to the price of petrol and 10c/l for diesel.

The best advice to beat high fuel bills is to buy a more economical car, but even owners of gas guzzlers can keep their driving costs down by accelerating smoothly, ensuring the tyre pressures are correct, avoiding rush hour and shifting gears sooner.

COST OF FUEL IN SA — JANUARY 2019 VS JANUARY 2020

Petrol unleaded 93 inland

January 2019 — R13.79

January 2020 — R15.84

Petrol unleaded 95 inland

January 2019 — R14.01

January 2020 — R16.16

Diesel 50 ppm inland

January 2019 — R13.16

January 2020 — R14.67

Diesel 500 ppm inland

January 2019 — R13.13

January 2020 — R14.62

Petrol unleaded 93 coastal

January 2019 — R13.43

January 2020 — R15.39

Petrol unleaded 95 coastal

January 2019 — R13.42 

January 2020 — R15.52

Diesel 50 ppm coastal

January 2019 R12.68

January 2020 R14.13

Diesel 500 ppm coastal

January 2019 — R12.64

January 2020 — R14.08

Cost of filling a 50l petrol car with 95 unleaded inland in January 2019: R700.50

Cost of filling a 50l petrol car with 95 unleaded inland in January 2020: R808 (difference R107.50)

Cost of filling a 50l diesel car with 50 ppm in January 2019: R658

Cost of filling a 50l diesel car with 50 ppm in January 2020: R733.50 (difference R75.50)

*Source: AA