The Automobile Association has warned South African motorists to brace for some “fuel price pain” in March thanks to a steady increase in international petroleum prices during the first half of February and a faltering rand.

"Oil traded within a very tight band for most of January, but we have seen a steady uptick since February began. This trend has accelerated in the last week in particular," the AA said in a statement, commenting on unaudited mid-month fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund.

At the same time, the rand, while currently offsetting some of oil's gains, has been on a weakening trend against the US dollar since the start of February.

"The rand has slipped from R13,20 against the dollar on 1 February to R14,12 on 14 February. This is not good news for fuel users at a time when oil is also rising," the AA said.

The current data suggested a price increase of 43 cents a litre was in the offing for petrol, 62 cents for diesel and 47 cents for illuminating paraffin.

"If the trendlines for oil and the rand don't flatten out, there could be worse to come before month end," the AA said.

“We advise motorists to factor some fuel price pain into their budgets as we move towards March," the Association concluded.