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Petrol 80 – 90c up

28 Jun 2013

Consumers can expect a petrol price hike of close to 90c per litre, according to a quick survey done by Fin24. This is in anticipation of an announcement in this regard by the Central Energy Fund on Friday. Any price increase will take effect at midnight next Tuesday. Peter Noke, group retail specialist for Royale Energy, expects the hike to be announced by the department of minerals and energy on Friday will be about 87c per litre for petrol and about 80c per litre for diesel.

“It is only my guess, but I think it is going to be pretty close to that,” he said. “The impact on everything in the value chain – from manufacturing to delivery – will be huge. The domino effect of one of the biggest petrol price hikes on consumers’ lives will be horrible.” The rand/dollar exchange rate is the biggest culprit in his opinion.

Mike Schüssler, an economist at Economists.co.za, expects a petrol price hike of around 90c per litre. “It is clear that with the weak rand, inflation is going to breach 6% or even 6.5% or 7%,” he ventured. “July is going to be a tough month for consumers, because municipal electricity increases usually also happen in this month,” said Schüssler.

Efficient Group’s chief economist, Dawie Roodt, also blamed the weakening as the biggest culprit for the expected petrol price hike. “It is not a pretty picture,” said Roodt. Motorists at the reef are currently forking out R12.16 for 93 octane and R12.39 for 95 octane. While motorists on the coast are paying R11.96 for 93 octane and R12.02 for 95 octane.
Taxi hike

Meanwhile, the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) has launched an index to be used by associations to calculate taxi fares, it said on Thursday. Santaco CEO Nkululeko Buthelezi said taxi fares were under-priced by up to 70 percent “in some instances”. Taxi associations had no formal means of calculating what their fares should be.

“This means that when an association decides to increase fares, the amount is simply based on the general feeling among operator-members about what they need to restore their net earnings,” Buthelezi said. “In turn, this makes it difficult for the association to explain to commuters why fares are being increased.” This had prompted Santaco to develop the Taxi Fare Index.

The index was based on a computer programme that modelled the costs of taxi operations. “An association will be able to enter data about its own routes — the length of the route, the number of passengers carried, and similar details — and get an accurate picture of what it should be charging,” said Santaco secretary general Philip Taaibosch.

“In the same way, it can regularly measure increases in costs and be able to prepare its passengers for possible fares hikes,” he said. The index would include costs that were sometimes skimped by taxi operators. These included costs associated with the labour department’s legal requirements, as well as with the employment of managers by associations to ensure operations were smooth and efficient.

“These are costs which should be incurred, but fares might have to be increased to meet them,” Taaibosch said. Santaco had tested the model on a representative sample of commuter routes in inland, coastal and rural areas, and on long-distance services. It had found that to meet all the operational costs of a commuter taxi service, to fully professional standards, the present fares would need to be increased by 50 to 70 percent, Taaibosch said.

Buthelezi said the index was still in the early stages and there was room for refinement. “We are indeed convinced that this is a step in the right direction to meet the needs of our commuters and provide the necessary tools for taxi operators… to manage their businesses in an efficient and professional manner,” he said. The index would be released quarterly to the media and to Santaco members. Santaco also launched its Journal of Public Transport Policy, which would be published quarterly to “contribute to debates on improved public transport”. NEWS24/SAPA

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