As oil prices reach their lowest price point since 2021, diesel costs are set to decrease while petrol prices might still see a price hike in December.

According to the latest information from the Central Energy Fund, petrol prices may increase by 24c to 38c a litre when the changes take effect in early December. It is adverse for diesel users, who can breathe a sigh of relief ahead of the festive season considering the price is expected to decrease by as much as R1.53 and R1.59 depending on grade.

Fuel prices are usually adjusted on the first Wednesday of the month and determined by the price of oil compared to the rand-dollar exchange rate. On Monday, Brent crude oil decreased by almost 2% to R1 391 a barrel. It is now down by almost 11% over the past month and has lost 20% since the end of August. Following the invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, it traded above R2 207.

In order to try and add to oil supplies, the US government has also recently granted energy giant Chevron a licence to restart oil production in Venezuela after raising the three-year sanctions it had previously imposed on the country. Meanwhile, the European Union members are still in negotiations about a new price ceiling that will be imposed on Russian oil shipments in retaliation for its war against Ukraine. The cap is planned to be introduced on December 5. Companies will be banned from handling Russian oil cargo – unless it’s sold for less than the price ceiling. The cap is expected to be set around R1 018 a barrel.

The rand recently had a surge from R17.85/$ earlier this month to below R17/$ last week, this will help fuel prices.

Here is what the prospective changes for the December period may look like:

  • Petrol 93 to increase by 24 cents per litre
  • Petrol 95 to increase by 33 cents per litre
  • Diesel 0.05% to decrease by 159 cents per litre
  • Diesel 0.005% to decrease by 153 cents per litre

For context, the Gauteng diesel price now sits at R25.49 a litre following a hike at the beginning of the month making it a new record high. A year ago, Gauteng’s diesel price was around R17.20 per litre. Petrol costs R22.87 a litre for unleaded 95, compared to R19.54 a year ago – which is still a reasonable drop from the peak of R26.74 which it reached in July.

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