The energy department has indicated that it is considering setting a maximum allowable price for 93-octane unleaded fuel as a relief measure to provide relief from the unrelenting petrol price increases of recent months. A warning though: price controls consistently lead to unintended consequences far worse than the problems they are supposed to fix. The fuel price in SA is already controlled. Our fuel price differs only between the coastal and inland provinces. In other countries, you could be paying a different price at every petrol station you visit because they leave it to the market to determine the price of petrol, instead of leaving it to the government. Generally, the government raises (and more rarely, lowers) the fuel price based on what it often wrongly thinks the market wants. If, however, the government goes ahead and implements a regime whereby 93-octane petrol will no longer be allowed to go beyond a certain price, it will distort the market even more than it currentl...

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