A government plan to cap the price of 93-octane petrol is gaining momentum but the proposal may benefit consumers only from next year, a department of energy official said this week. Energy minister Jeff Radebe - who intervened to limit a price hike in September - caused a stir a week ago when he revealed in a post-cabinet briefing that the state was considering a monthly cap on the price of unleaded fuel instead of the current regulated price. Fuel prices have risen more than 20% over the past seven months, due to higher international oil prices and a weaker rand, which has increased the cost of oil imports. Allowing fuel companies to set their own prices under this state-mandated maximum could usher in greater competition. The price of 95 octane would not be affected. Robert Maake, director for fuel prices in the department of energy, said this was the first time such a proposal had been made and there were many unknown factors, including exactly how this would benefit consumers. ...

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