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Fuel fears: Call for South Africans to avoid unnecessary road travel

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As calm slowly returns to South Africa, the AA has called on citizens to limit all non-essential travel as road transport comes under pressure from the devastating unrest, along with the spectre of fuel shortages.

In a media statement released today (15 July 2021), the association also warned that unaudited mid-month fuel price data from the Central Energy Fund reflected a risk of substantial fuel price hikes at month-end.

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Currency exchange rate to have strong impact on fuel prices

“Fuel prices were already trending higher before the widespread looting and unrest of the past few days. But now, the daily Rand/US dollar exchange rate has spiked from R14.35 to nearly R14.80 since 12 June,” said the AA, adding that as South Africa imports a substantial amount of fuel, it will inevitably cost more in rand terms.

Motorists should be prepared for potentially significant price increase

The mid-month data indicates that petrol is set for an increase of 87 cents a litre, diesel 58 cents and illuminating paraffin 56 cents, and the AA said it expects little respite before month-end.

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Fuel refinery should be protected at all costs

“In a related development, South African Petroleum Refiners (Sapref), which runs a massive refinery complex in Durban supplying 35% of South Africa’s refined fuel, has declared force majeure,” said the organisation.

“If an operational refinery were to be overrun by criminals, surrounding areas would be at great risk. Past disasters involving refineries have polluted wide areas and claimed hundreds of lives, so Sapref’s caution is justified,” commented the AA.

You can help by limiting your travel

The association said it advises motorists to avoid unnecessary journeys and to buy no more fuel than necessary, to preserve current stocks for essential and emergency services.

“We also advise citizens to work remotely where possible, and our plea to business is to accommodate the difficulties their staff may face if mass transit is affected by fuel shortages,” stated the AA.

Government’s ineffective crisis response to hit poor hardest

The association added that “needless rand weakness driven by the government’s ineffective response to the crisis would hit vulnerable citizens first and hardest”.

“People who use paraffin for heating, lighting and cooking are rarely in a financial position to absorb large price hikes,” concluded the association.

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