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Respite from petrol price ahead?

Economists say we may have some relief from rising petrol costs early next year.

Petrol pumps.

CAPE TOWN - The Cape Chamber Of Commerce says its portfolio committee has been discussing possibilities of working with the city of Cape Town to help lessen the blow of yet another petrol price hike.

The price of petrol increased earlier this week forcing motorists to cough up 32 cents extra for a litre of petrol and 33 cents for a litre of diesel.

Motorists in Cape Town are now paying the highest rate ever for a litre of unleaded petrol at 13 rand, 18 cents.

The chamber's Viola Manuel says car-pooling which is becoming a global trend, is one of the many suggestions.

"We know that economists are saying that there are more tough times to come before things get better and we can really only look for some form of respite early next year."

EVER INCREASING COSTS

The petrol price increased by another 32 cents per litre to its highest ever price last week. Diesel now costs an additional 33 cents while illuminating paraffin is up by 25 cents.

Last month the cost of petrol increased by 84 cents per litre, while diesel went up by 78 cents a litre.

Economist Chris Hart says fortunately the rand has been stable or the petrol price would be higher.

"Brent crude rose from roughly $103 a barrel at the beginning of the month to $108 at the end of the month. That's a reasonably high price and the rand behaved itself."

However, Hart added motorists might face another increase.

"International oil prices have been relatively strong at the beginning of this month and it does suggest that there could be a further increase next month if international oil prices continue to rise."

Meanwhile, the South African Petroleum Retailers' Association (Sapra) has bemoaned the high cost of fuel, saying everyone in the country will feel the pinch.

Sapra's Gerry Lewis says the poor will be the hardest hit.

"The consumer is going to have less money to spend on food. It's increasingly becoming a more difficult situation for the lower income population."

Sapra believes the fuel price will reach the R14 a litre mark by next year.

Golden Arrow Bus Service and taxi association Santaco have each warned they will have to hike their fares as a result of the fuel price increases.

A recent study has found that while South Africa's fuel prices place the country 40th on a global table, South Africans generally earn less than workers elsewhere.