Motorists can expect the petrol price to increase by about 33c a litre in June, edging it closer towards the symbolic five-rand a litre mark.

Motorists can expect the petrol price to increase by about 33c a litre in June, edging it closer towards the symbolic five-rand a litre mark.

The next fuel price increase on the first Wednesday of June will push the price of petrol up to around R4,70 per litre at the coast and R5 per litre inland.

Oil prices have hovered at 13-year highs for the past few weeks and have escalated to record highs amid growing fears that instability in the Middle East could threaten oil production.

Another major factor contributing to the rising price of petrol prices was the worldwide demand for fuel outstripping the supply by about two million barrels per day, the director of the South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia), Colin McClelland said.

Opec (the Organisation for Petroleum Exporting Countries) controlled the price of petrol by either increasing production to meet extra demand or reducing it to push the price fuel up. McClelland claimed that while oil producers were pumping out as much fuel as possible, Opec often produced less oil than it was capable of generating.

Stocks were running low since oil production had dropped to about 75 million barrels a day. The current worldwide demand was between approximately 76 and 77 million barrels per day.

However, the price of petrol at the pumps was also dependant on fluctuations in the rand’s exchange rate.

“What can turn this around is if demand drops,” McClelland said. “The petrol price will fall like a stone if consumers around the world each find a way of saving just five per cent of what they use daily.”

Rail rather than road transport was one of the issues being focused on in the country’s draft Energy Efficiency Strategy which recognised that energy consumption was higher than it should be.