Up, up, up: Just how far will R100 worth of petrol take you?

2009-03-06 00:00

People around the world were calling for mass mobilisation against fuel producing countries, while many local gas stations raked in earnings of just R40 a day — all this because the petrol price reached high of R2,33.

It was 1999 and the global fuel shortage resulted in price increases on liquid fuels nearly every month of the year.

Internet users sent out e-mails calling for members of the “global community” to boycott countries belonging to Opec (the Organisation of Petroleum-producing Countries), as the price of fuel reached preposterous heights.

In February that year, R100 worth of petrol would only take a Pietermaritzburg motorist travelling north on the N3 and N1 to Botlokwa, a small town around 63 km north of Polokwane. By April, motorists from the City of Choice would just about make it out of Limpopo’s capital city.

A hundred rands’ worth of petrol, at the time, was all one would need to get to work and back for over a month if you lived about 10 km away.

Today, a decade later, R100 will buy you just enough petrol get to work for exactly two weeks travelling the same daily distance.

After the recent 45c petrol hike, leaving petrol prices at R6,90 per litre, long-distance travellers driving toward Johannesburg from the city centre will only make it as far as 10 km out of a farming town near Villiers called Roadside.

When fuel price peaked over R10,50 eight months ago, travellers on the same route would barely make it past Harrismith.

Petrol price highs have been blamed on the global economic recession and tensions between the United States and most of the Middle Eastern World — particularly after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

In the months after these attacks, petrol prices reached a high of around R4 per litre.

Mid-way through the year, oil peaked at $147 a barrel, but then started to fall back to its current levels of around $44 a barrel.

The South African price of fuel dropped by about R4 by December last year to the lowest the petrol price has been since 2006.

Estimations made in this article are based on the average fuel consumption of the Toyota Yaris T1, which covers around 5,2 litres per 100 km of fuel, according to Gary Stokes, sales manager of McCarthy Toyota Pietermaritzburg.

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