Petrol price has fallen but remember economy still under strain: DebtSafe

NOVEMBER 4, 2015

The Department of Energy announced a decrease in pump price of all grades of petrol, the wholesale price of both grades of diesel, the maximum retail price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and the prices of illuminating paraffin with effect from Wednesday 4 November 2015.

Wikus Olivier, Debt Management Expert at DebtSafe, says consumers have to be aware that although petrol prices are decreasing, the South African economy is under heavy strain.

In a survey done by the company earlier this year, the statistics show that 51% of the participating respondents were not able to meet their minimum debt repayment requirements. 13% of respondents indicated that they couldn’t make ANY payment after the December holidays.

Olivier warns consumers to consider every cent before spending. “Before spending money on travelling or expensive trips and gifts, make sure you don’t have large financial concerns in the beginning of the New Year,” he says.

"It is easy to overspend and overlook a lot of costs when travelling. For an example, if you drive a petrol vehicle, do the calculations of what the petrol decrease really mean to your budget. If your car’s tank takes 60 litres of petrol, you will save an average of R20 per tank,” Olivier adds. For some households this means having money to buy milk and bread, against having nothing.

He says that people should plan ahead and use the extra cash that will be saved towards purchasing gifts rather than using a credit card.

Olivier advises individuals to take every financial aspect into consideration to ensure not to run out of money while away during the holidays, and that they don’t return to a ‘higher mountain of debt’ - debt that is newly acquired or expensive to pay back.

"There is no question that a change of scenery is often needed, and travelling offers a perfect way to relax and refresh. Taking the following basic travel tips into consideration when planning any getaway can help you save much needed money in the long run. Allowing you to comfortably pick up where you left off upon your return with minimal impact on your financial wellbeing," says Olivier.

He also says that another fuel price reduction closer to the holidays is expected.

Helpful tips to save fuel when travelling:

  • Check Your Tyre Pressure - Correctly inflated tyres results increased mileage of approximately 3.3%
  • Reduce Your Drag - Any external fixings such as roof boxes, their rails and bike racks should be removed when not in use.
  • Use High Quality Fuels - Using high quality fuels will allow the vehicle to run more efficiently. Tests show that when you use high quality fuel, your vehicle’s economy can increase to up to 25km more per tank.
  • Turn Off Your Air-con – An air conditioning unit requires more fuel and produces increased fuel emissions.
  • Avoid Stop-Start Driving – Observe road and traffic conditions ahead and by lifting your foot off the accelerator earlier and gently slowing down will improve fuel economy.
  • Avoid Short Journeys – An engine uses more fuel when it is cold; therefore, it leads to high emissions and high fuel consumption for several minutes after start up. It is best to avoid such journeys as much as possible.