Sun. Sep 15th, 2019

Most affordable in Africa? New data on SA’s petrol price turns heads

Well, not many of us were expecting this. But a new survey has revealed that South Africa’s petrol prices are technically the most affordable on the continent.

most affordable in africa new data on sas petrol price turns heads - Most affordable in Africa? New data on SA’s petrol price turns heads

If bemoaning the updated monthly petrol price was an olympic sport, you could guarantee that South Africa would romp home with the gold every time. It’s sort of a national past-time these days, even if we have got a bit of relief throughout July. But, believe it or not, Mzansi actually stands head and shoulders above the rest of Africa in one department.

Sure, we can’t compete with the likes of Nigeria and their R6-per-litre prices. And Algeria’s “cheapest fuel on the continent” puts us to shame. But we’re about to level the playing field, thanks to our average monthly wage.

Petrol price in South Africa is “the best on the continent”, proportionally speaking

Because, when we calculate which nationalities can afford the most petrol based on current prices and the average salary earned in South Africa, we’re top of the pile… that’s according to data specialists Picodi, who have surveyed 16 other countries on the continent to determine who can buy the most fuel.

Our current fuel price for 2019 averages out at almost R15-per-litre. Meanwhile, the average monthly wage earned by a South African stands at R18 159. This means that, should one of our fellow citizens feel the need to blow all their wages on fuel, they could buy 1 215 litres of petrol with one salary packet.

4823c8f3 sa petrol - Most affordable in Africa? New data on SA’s petrol price turns heads
The darker the shade of red for each country, the better the petrol / earnings ratio is. Data could not be verified by nations left in grey – Map from picodi.com

That’s the best ratio in Africa, ousting second-placed Namibia (on 986 litres) and the Algerians (in third place with 777 litres). Lower in the ranking are countries like Uganda, Cameroon or Zambia. In these places, the average salary allows for buying no more than 200 litres of petrol, which is only one-fifth of the Africa ranking leader’s capacity.

Of course, there are variables to consider. With more than half of South Africans “living in poverty”, the average monthly salary is skewed spectacularly by our higher earners. We’re not sure how many township residents are going to look at this data and treat it as good news…

Worst petrol-to-earnings ratio

Still, the most disadvantaged Africans are people from Madagascar who can buy only 42 litres of petrol with their average salary. But that is not the worst ratio in the world. No, that title goes to Cuba.

The island in Carribean waters charges more than R17-per-litre for its fuel, and the average annual wage is extremely low. Of course, South Africa knows a thing or two about poverty, but Cuba really takes the biscuit on this one. The average citizen can only afford 26 litres of petrol per month – just over half a tank of petrol in a standard motor vehicle.

Who has the best petrol-to-earnings ratio in the world?

At the other end of the scale, the global top performers include:

  1. Venezuela: 14 billion litres of petrol per month.*
  2. Qatar: 6 500 litres of petrol per month.
  3. United Arab Emirates (UAE): 4 900 litres of petrol per month.
  4. United States of America: 4 700 litres of petrol per month.
  5. Australia: 3 700 litres of petrol per month.

* We should explain, with Venezuela, petrol is extremely cheap there. The country sits on vasts reserves of oil, but refuses to charge its citizens anything more than a few cents per litre. You can fill up the tank of an average motor vehicle for much less than R5, for example.

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