New fuel hike makes young professionals rethink car use

2014-02-03 16:29

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When Andiswa Mkumatela (30) first found out the petrol price would increase by 39c on Wednesday, her reaction was: “Yho, it’s going up?”

Her shock is understandable – consumers are feeling the pinch from all sides, with no sign of relief.

The latest petrol price increase of 39c a litre and 24c for a litre of diesel can be attributed to the weak rand.

Last week, the rand fell to a five-year low of R11.38 to the dollar after the Monetary Policy Committee announced that the repurchase rate was to increase by 50 basis points, leaving the repo rate and prime rate at 5.5% and 9% respectively.

Consumers had barely digested the rate hike before they learnt of the petrol price increase. Mkumatela, a business analyst at Nedbank, said she has to reconsider her spending habits.

“Rent is going up and because of that, my first cut was in petrol. I have stopped travelling as much and started car-pooling. My friends, colleagues and I share petrol already.”

She said the increase in the petrol price meant she would need to make further sacrifices. Mkumatela said she has consciously started carrying lunch to work.

“I have calculated that R20 a day spent on lunch is a R100 a week, which adds up to R400 a month. Almost a full tank,” she said.

In addition, Mkumatela has had to re-evaluate where she buys her groceries.

“I love to do my shopping at Woolies but now I only buy fruit and vegetables there and buy my necessities at Checkers and Shoprite.”

But Tsholofelo Pelo (33), a senior producer at SAfm radio, said the increase in interest rates and the petrol price did not put a dent in her budget.

“The only thing that is affected is my travelling – I have to rethink my travel plans. I don’t have a child and I live alone so life hasn’t changed that much,” she said.

She said her biggest concern was e-tolls: “I had to start using back routes because I can’t afford e-tolls and this chows up most of my petrol.”

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