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Fuel price differences

2004-11-03 12:19

Why I am asking is that I am driving a diesel car and it seems that the price of diesel varies freely.

For example, this morning I wanted to fill the tank, diesel price at my filling station, 4.55/l, pump broken, drive to next one, diesel price 4.78/l.

Yes 23 cents difference in the same road.

But at this station the leaded and unleaded is cheaper at 4.77/l and 4.74/l respectively.

Checked the prices at two other stations in vicinity and they are also 4.76 to 4.78 for diesel.

Which price is the realistic one and who is taking a chance?

Should diesel be more expensive than petrol at this stage?

Or are the station owners loading the diesel prices because of more diesel vehicles on the road.

Last question, is it legal to advertise fuel prices?

Thank you
- Ubert Coetzee

Wheels24 replies

Firstly, all petrol prices are strictly regulated by the Govt.

However, differences can occur because the country is divided into different regions depending on delivery costs.

Obviously we all understand the coastal and inland price differences, but what isn't generally known is that within these regions there are various sectors - simplistically, let's call it "town" and "country" (although it's more complex than that.

"Town" encompasses those filling stations close to the fuel depots, while "country" those which are further away.

The price difference is supposed to take into account extra delivery costs for "country".

But there has to be a cutoff line between the two, and it can happen that one petrol station may fall within the "town" region, while another close by falls within "country".

The diesel price, however, is not quite so regulated, and filling stations may charge whatever they wish - remembering of course, that they won't want to make a loss.

But some may be happy with a smaller profit margin in order to, say, drive traffic to their new car wash, or shop, where they will make much more money than they can ever make on the fuel margins.

And, yes, as far as I know it is perfectly legal to advertise prices.
- Wheels24 managing editor

And another reader adds...

Regarding the article [about fuel prices]. My work colleague and I were paying R3.81/l for turbo diesel when we bought our cars in June/July.

Yesterday we filled up (at the manufacturer recommended station, Sasol (as they boast the lowest sulphur content)), and we paid R4.98/l !!! Oh, just by the way, petrol at that pump cost R4.83/l.

So yes, reconsider any decision to buy the 'cheaper' option! Certainly until the government decides to regulate Diesel prices.
- Andrew Roberts


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