Petrol hikes leave city drivers looking to govt

2008-05-07 00:00

FUEL filling stations around the city received mixed reactions from motorists a few hours before the fuel price increased by 55 cents a litre at midnight.

While some garages had a busy night as motorists lined up to fill up, others remained quiet.

Petrol went up to R9,55 a litre at the coast, and to R10,07 inland.

The Witness visited a few filling stations to gauge the reaction of motorists about the latest increase. While not all of them pointed fingers at the government, they felt that it should intervene because the prices are affecting their livelihood.

“I think the government should intervene because the fuel increase is too rapid. I know this is a universal problem, but something needs to be done. There should be some kind of support, because these are unforeseen circumstances, which are mostly affecting the poor,” said Shaveer Nabie, whose tank now costs R580 to fill, from R500.

Abdul Khalik from Mountain Rise, who drives a Mercedes Kompressor C200, said: “These prices are pathetic. I now have to pay more than R600 to fill up a tank.”

“Although there is nothing we can do, the prices are crazy. The government should deregulate the fuel industry so that there can be competition in order for prices to drop,” said Vinay Boshumune.

Rias Ballim, whose Sasol filling station in Chota Motala (Old Greytown) Road was busy last night, said he was expecting his neighbouring filling stations to run out of fuel.

“I have the biggest tanks in the area, and I made sure that they were all full. Already, other garages have run out of diesel, and motorists are coming here,” he said.

Meanwhile, the executive director of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA said that sales of SUVs (sports utility vehicles) and 4x4s are under pressure, but added that all vehicle sales were under pressure at present anyway.

“Fuel efficiency is influencing customer purchasing decisions,” he said.

But local dealerships said that people who are in the market for these vehicles buy them and accept the high petrol costs.

Vusi Mvelase, the sales manager for Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge, said that many cars at that end of the scale have sophisticated fuel saving devices.

Another dealer who asked not to be named had similar sentiments.

“If they can afford it, they buy it.”

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