The stretch of highway between Pretoria and Johannesburg carries hundreds of thousands of cars every day.
When driving this road on a daily basis, commuters are subject to several costs – including e-tolls and petrol.
These costs can stack up quickly, as you will see in the hypothetical trip taken below.
A popular commuter route for South Africans kicks off somewhere near the centre of Pretoria, at one of the many N1 off ramps.
For our example we’ll start at the Proefplaas interchange, where the N4 and N1 intersect.
Our endpoint will be the William Nicol Drive and N1 interchange in Fourways, Sandton.
This route is around 55km one way, and includes five e-tolls as part of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).
Keep in mind though, that e-toll prices vary depending on the time and day that you drive through them.
Commuting at peak times will see you pay full price, while a discount is applied when driving during off-peak hours.
It is also worth noting that drivers can either be registered or unregistered e-toll users.
Fees differ in this aspect as well, as unregistered users pay double the amount that registered users need to.
Hatchbacks are a popular car on South African roads, especially when it comes to rush hour traffic.
The Toyota Starlet is one of those hatchbacks that has enjoyed increased popularity in recent months, and it will be used in our example today.
It is powered by a 1.4-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine that produces 68kW and 130Nm of torque, achieving a top speed of 170km/h.
Fuel consumption is then rated at 5.4 litres per 100km, or 18.52km per litre.
This means that we will be using roughly three litres of petrol to drive our route one way – amounting to six litres of petrol used per day, when driving from Pretoria to Johannesburg and back.
Inland petrol prices as stated on the Automobile Association website for March 2021 were:
- Petrol Unleaded 93 – R16.15 per litre
- Petrol Unleaded 95 – R16.32 per litre
- Petrol LRP – R16.15 per litre
- Diesel 500ppm – R14.12 per litre
- Diesel 50ppm – R14.18 per litre
The 2021 e-toll fees for an unregistered user on the Proefplaas to William Nicol route is as follows:
- One-way – R38.96
- Return trip – R77.92
In order to include the widest possible demographic, the pricing for the trip is based on peak-hour travel times as an unregistered user.
On a round-trip from Pretoria to Sandton you will drive through 10 e-tolls, totalling R77.92.
Now we have to budget for petrol.
Using Unleaded 95 at R16.32 per litre, a return trip using six litres of petrol will cost you R97.92.
This brings the total cost of a return trip between Proefplaas Interchange and William Nicol Drive to R175.84.
This equates to R879.20 per week for a standard work week, or R4,044.32 per month, calculated using 23 business days per month.