South African motorists can expect fuel prices to remain "virtually unchanged" heading into August, according to the Automobile Association.

The reprieve from the recent price-hike onslaught comes courtesy of “better exchange rate performance” and “retreats in international oil prices”, said the AA, commenting on unaudited month-end fuel price data.

"During July, the recent weakening trend of the rand against the US dollar slowed," the AA said, noting that the local currency lost some ground, but only marginally.

Over the same period, international oil prices showed a slight average decrease, which almost exactly cancelled the rand's losses.

"As a result, petrol is expected to increase by around two cents a litre, and illuminating paraffin by four cents a litre," the Association said.

"On the plus side, diesel will be cheaper by approximately four cents a litre. After several successive fuel price increases, motorists and other fuel users are due a breather, and the general stability of the fuel price during July will come as a relief to many."

The AA noted that international oil prices showed a slight upward trend towards the end of July and said that motorists' budgets would probably remain under pressure for the rest of the year.

"2018 has been a year of volatility in the fuel price, and the seesawing rand and oil price suggest that caution should be the watchword," the Association concluded.