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December fuel price was miscalculated by six cents, department admits

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has apologised for miscalculating the December 2021 fuel price.

According to a statement released on Wednesday, the price of both grades of petrol will increase by 75 cents, instead of the 81 cents that was previously announced.

The department said the six cent difference was due to the fact that the wage adjustment for service station workers, which was already implemented in September, had been mistakenly added to the December fuel price calculation.

This minor adjustment will be of little or no consolation to motorists and commuters, with petrol still costing around 40% more than it did a year ago. With the adjustment taken into account, South Africans will pay R19.57 for a litre of 95 Unleaded at the coast and R20.29 in the inland regions, where 93 Unleaded will now cost R20.07.

“Although it is for the very first time that such an error has occurred in the history of basic fuel price determination in South Africa, the DMRE profusely apologises for the inconvenience caused. The rest of the fuel prices are correct,” the department said in a statement.

However, the Automobile Association has called upon the department to rectify the situation, given that the error has already caused many people to pay higher prices for fuel than they should have.

“The error by the DMRE validates the AA’s call that a total review of the fuel price, and an audit of all the process and components which comprise the fuel price, is necessary. While we appreciate that errors occur, the impact of the fuel price on millions of South Africans cannot be underestimated. This error, in fact, must be the catalyst for such a review,” the AA added.

As IOL reported on Tuesday, petrol prices have increased by 91.8% in the last 10 years and 60% in the past five. Diesel prices have surged by around 70% in the last decade.

The record fuel prices that South Africans are paying at the moment are due to a combination of a weak rand, strong oil prices and high taxes. Taxes currently account for R6.11 of every litre of fuel sold in SA and according to OUTA, the fuel levy has increased by 116% in the last decade.

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