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'Filled my tank, got change from R2' - Readers share their cheap SA fuel prices

2017-05-30 09:10

WHAT DID YOU PAY FOR FUEL? Wheels24 readers share their fuel price stories from a few years go. It cost as little as R2 to fill some car tanks. Image: Engen SA

Janine Van der Post

Cape Town - Earlier this week Wheels24 reported that South African motorists are in for some fuel price relief in June 2017, according to the Automobile Association (AA) commenting on unaudited month-end fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund (CEF).

Fuel prices increased significantly over the last decade. 

Wheels24 reported that in 2006 South Africans paid just - on average - R7 for a litre of fuel. Diesel and Unleaded 93 came in at just over R7, while Unleaded 95 was R7.04. Imagining that this was the actual cost of fuel seems like a distant memory.

In 2007 the price of diesel decreased by 3cents, but surprisingly, by the end of 2008 the average price of diesel per litre was R11.27! In 2009 the price dropped back down to R6.65. Fuel, too, increased and decreased over the same period.

How much do you spend on fuel?

We also asked Wheels24 readers 'How much do you spend on fuel each month?': 

14 883 (62%) readers said they spend less than R2500 per month, 5843 (24%) users spend between R2500 to R3500 while 2072 (9%) spend between R3500 to R5000. More than 1087 (5%) fork out more than R5000 a month on their fuel bill.

Our readers have shared some interesting memories about fuel prices in South Africa.

Fuel prices in SA

Bennett Napoleon: I paid R1.89 for a litre of petrol when I bought my first car in 1997.

Dr Charles Grevelink: When I started my career in 1970, 200 liters cost R10.

Merlynn Kageler: In 1978 I filled the tank of my BMW - 30litres: COST R20!?

Corne Van Dongen: 10c a litre back in 1972. Used to fill my Beetle for between R3.50 and R4.00. My wife used to put in R1.00 for her week 's travel to work.

Allard Jurriaans: 8 cent/ litter in 1970/71.

Donald Mildenhall: A friend of mine sent me the following pic a few weeks ago. Not sure where he got it. This is the only info available,  but still "a receipt can tell a thousand words" ....... 

Jaap Kruger: In 1970, we paid R0,43 per gallon petrol. That is 9,47c per litre. Farmers were paying roughly 8c per litre for bona fide farming Diesel.  PS: The price of petrol in Francistown, Botswana, was nearly 70c per gallon at that stage, due to transport cost. 

Philip Mercer: As a teenager in the 1970's petrol restrictions were in place where you could not buy petrol at night times, after 1pm on Saturdays and the whole day on Sunday's without and permit. 1977 and 1978, I owned and rode a Suzuki AS50 and also worked part time at the old Ocean City Ice Rink in Durban.

The Suzuki AS50 only had about a 5 litre tank and at the time the price was 25c per litre. If I needed petrol during restriction times, I used to borrow the Ice Rick's permit they had to buy petrol for the Ice tractor that prepared the Ice. That was some 40 years ago!

More readers respond


Wheels24 reader Melanie says: "With regard to the Wheels24 article on SA fuel prices,  I have never been able to understand how these have been calculated over the years.

"At some point in 2012, I started to track the Brent Crude price and the Rand/Dollar exchange rate in a spreadsheet in an attempt to understand the ever rising fuel price. 

"I realise now, with hindsight, that I should also have recorded the actual fuel price prevailing at the time. Pity it is missing. 

"In 2012, 2013 and 2014 the oil price was through the roof due to some tactics being used by the Middle East oil producing countries. In 2015 the oil price fell to less than half, but the dollar was expensive.

"Nevertheless, I still have never been able to match these fluctuations with the explanations given for the unusual variations in the SA fuel prices.

"I have always had the feeling that all is not well behind the scenes. Maybe it is connected to last year’s Dept. of Energy scandal?


Dan van der Westerhuizen: The price if high octane fuel in 1976 was R1.25 per litre.

Nic Olivier: Sept 1978 price of diesel to farmers was 12.5c In November 1978 it was 18c and February 1979 it rose to 22c a litre.

Frank: The year is 1963-64. Price per litre 9,25 cents. The price movement those days was a maximum of 25 cents per litre in Johannesburg.

Daniel de Wet: When I started driving in 1965 petrol cost R1 for 2.7 gallons.

Clive Dinsdale: In 1986 I remember paying 50c a liter for petrol. I rode with a Datsun 1200 Deluxe from Virginia in the freestate to Klerksdorp and back on R50.

David Rodocanachi: Quite a while ago. 78 cents/litre. Remember then telling my Dad, one of these days petrol will be a rand a litre.

Arthur Brindley: When I immigrated to SA I seem to remember the cost as being 16cents per litre. The same with a litre of milk.

Serchen Naidoo:  I paid R6.30 a litre 6 years ago in Swaziland,  a country we supply???  How is that possible that they are average 3-4 Rands cheaper than us and we sell to them?  

Des Robertson: In 1972 I bought my first car - a brand new Mini Clubman. It had a 25 litre fuel tank. The price of petrol was 9.3 cents a litre. I could fill my tank for less than R2.50. I was well paid for a first job, earning R142.50 a month. 

Cwenga Mdala: I remember paying about R5.95 cent per litre just about 15 years ago.

Yunus Abdoola: 96 cents a litre Diesel, 1.07 cents a litre Petrol. More or less in 1980.

Gustav Engelbrecht: It is amazing that after the completion of the Toll gates (2010) in Gauteng, the prices escalated??
My very first car in 1979, had a 50 litre tank, and I filled it for R15, thus R0.30 per litre.

Eugene de Wit: 59 cents a litre in 1976. Bulk farmers price from Trek.

David Hendry: It was back in the late 60's 1968 I think - 19 cents a litre. My car had a small tank and to fill up was a pleasure. I would get change from a R2 note.



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