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Petrol prices are at an all-time high – This is how much tax you pay

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South Africa received yet another fuel price hike in August, with a new slate levy of 6.58c/l added on top of the existing fuel price calculation.

This price increase marks the second month in a row where the country has seen record-high fuel prices. Before July, the previous all-time high was in April 2021.

The current R18.11 inland price per litre of Petrol 93 reflects a 22% increase in fuel prices when compared to August 2020, when one litre of this fuel type cost R14.88.

Making matters worse is that South Africans are also paying more tax than ever before on fuel purchases.

To find out exactly how much tax motorists are paying, we spoke to the Automobile Association (AA) of South Africa.

Price breakdown

According to the AA, the taxes and levies on South Africa’s fuel prices are adjusted at the start of each financial year.

As of 4 August 2021, the local petrol price takes into account the following elements:

  • Slate Levy (SL)
  • General Fuel Levy (GFL)
  • Road Accident Fund levy (RAF)
  • Basic fuel price (BFP)
  • Wholesale and retail margins, and distribution costs

In April 2021, the two largest levies – GFL and RAF – were increased, and August saw the addition of the Slate Levy.

The new levy will be paid to the Department of Energy (DOE) on a monthly basis to account for the imbalances in the country’s “slate account”.

According to the DOE, South Africa’s basic fuel prices are calculated on a daily basis and the daily price is either higher or lower than the average price for that month.

These price differentials are known as under or over-recoveries.

“An under-recovery means that fuel consumers are paying too little for the product on that day, whilst in an over-recovery situation, consumers are paying too much for the product on that day,” it said.

The cumulative balance of these recoveries go into the country’s slate account at the end of each month, and these will now be paid for by the new Slate Levy on fuel.

According to the AA, the costs for the various elements included in the inland price of Petrol 93 are as follows:

  • Slate Levy – 6.58 cents per litre
  • General Fuel Levy – R3.93 per litre
  • Road Accident Fund levy – R2.18 per litre 
  • Basic fuel price – R8.19 per litre
  • Wholesale and retail margins, and distribution costs – R3.74 per litre

This means South Africans are currently paying R6.18 in taxes and levies on a litre of petrol purchased in the country.

The table below shows the percentage of taxes and levies you pay per litre of fuel.

The prices in brackets represent the inland fuel price for the relevant fuel type, as shown on the AA website.

Fuel Taxes and Levies
Petrol 93 (R18.11) 34%
Petrol 95 (R18.30) 34%
Diesel 0.05% (R15.63) 40%
Diesel 0.005% (R15.66) 39%
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