The Automobile Association (AA) has urged government to be careful in determining future hikes to the General Fuel and Road Accident Fund levies, both of which are included in the price of petrol and diesel.
“On 21 February Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba will deliver his Budget Speech in Parliament. Part of that speech is expected to include an announcement on increases. With a budget shortfall of around R50-billion in 2017, this may seem an ideal mechanism for the minister to source additional revenue. However, the Government must consider the impact these increases have on especially the poorest of the poor in the country as they mostly rely on public transport,” the AA says.
“However, road users in general are already under enormous financial strain and a big increase to these levies will certainly place an even greater burden on them,” says the AA.
Currently the General Fuel levy is R3.15 and the Road Accident Fund levy R1.63. Together these levies total R4.78, which roughly makes up 33% of the total cost of a litre of fuel.
Last year, the levies increased by almost 9% on the 2016 prices, way above the CPI inflation rate, recorded in November 2017 at 4.6%.
Since 2013, increases to the levies have been above inflation. In 2013 the levies climbed by more than 8% while average CPI that year was 5.7%. In 2015 average CPI ended on 4.6% while the levies rose by 24.7%, and in 2017 the levies increased by 7.33% compared to an average annual inflation of 6.4%.
“Clearly the rate of increases in the levies outstrips inflation considerably and motorists and road users may well feel aggrieved that they are seen as an easy source of revenue, at a time when they are having to tighten their belts. For this reason we are advocating for increases to the levies which are in line with average inflation of around 6%..”
Should this happen the combined levies will cost R5.07/l, which is a 29c/l increase to the current levies.
“Any increases higher than inflation will constitute considerable rises to the fuel levies. We cannot support such hikes and urge government to make their decision carefully, and with the interests of all road users in mind,” the AA says.