The department of mineral and energy affairs on Thursday again warned of a possible 36 cents a litre increase in June and is investigating ways to minimise the effects of possible further increases.

The department of mineral and energy affairs on Thursday again warned of a possible 36 cents a litre increase in June and is investigating ways to minimise the effects of possible further increases.

Although the review period for determining prices is not over yet, earlier this week the department issued a cautionary announcement of the heavy increase expected on June 2.

The anticipated rise would push overall fuel prices in the country closer to the five-rand a litre mark. Diesel with a 0,3 per cent sulphur content would go up by 30 cents while diesel with a 0,05 per cent sulphur content would rise by 33 cents a litre.

The department said since the beginning of the current fuel price review period the price of Brent crude oil increased by more than US4 per barrel.

"The expected diesel price increase would have a roll-on effect on consumer goods," Petro Kruger, spokesperson for the Automobile Association, said. "Commuter prices and taxi fares would also increase substantially."

She said that Thursday's announcement reflected an average 27 per cent increase in 93 octane unleaded petrol since January when petrol cost R3,78 a litre.

Because the increases were caused by international prices, the only recourse motorists could take was to use their vehicles "very sensibly and to keep their vehicles in good condition", Kruger said.

Government has requested that the department of energy and mineral affairs investigate options to minimise the anticipated fuel price increases.

Theunis Burger, director of petroleum and gas regulations in the department, said one of the possibilities was to add equivalent fund levies to the fuel price to lessen future increases.

"We are still investigating all options but that is one possibility," Burger said.