Motorists can expect the fuel price to reach up to R5 a litre by the middle of the year should world oil prices continue to rise.

Motorists can expect the fuel price per litre up to R5 a litre by the middle of the year should world oil prices continue to rise.

If the world oil price remained at the 13-year high levels reached in the past few days, motorists should prepare themselves for possible massive hikes in June and July, according to Colin McClelland, director of the South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia).

According to reports, the oil price neared R274 per barrel in New York on Thursday amid fears of terrorism in the Middle East and restricted US fuel supplies.

The price of Brent crude oil for June delivery reached R255 per barrel in London. This level was last seen in October 1990 in the wake of the Iraqi invasion on Kuwait.

McClelland said if oil prices maintained these levels, South African motorists could expect to pay as much as 40 cents more per litre of petrol in June and July. Should the rand weaken from its current levels, the price of petrol could approach R5 per litre by July.

Colen Garrow of Brait said the price of petrol at the pump will depend not only on international crude oil prices, but also on the rand exchange rate against the US dollar.

"With little stopping prices hopping to $40 (R274) a barrel, the extent to which local consumers are affected will depend on the rand.”