SA's petrol price is higher than most other African countries – here's how it compares

Business Insider SA
An antique gas pump is situated in front of cacti
An antique petrol pump in Solitaire, Namibia. (Photo by: VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
  • Fuel prices recently reached all-time highs in most countries around the world.
  • South Africa is no exception, with the prices breaking through the R20 a litre mark in December last year.
  • But that's still half the price of what you'll pay in Hong Kong.
  • Despite recent increases, South Africa's petrol price is close to the global average.
  • But fuel in neighbouring countries is, on the whole, a lot cheaper.
  • Here's how South Africa's fuel price compares.
  • For more stories go to

In late 2021, fuel prices reached record highs in most countries. South Africa was no exception; after breaking through the R20 mark for the first time in December, the fuel price here is currently R19.61 per litre for 95-octane in Gauteng.

That may seem high, but this is about average compared to global fuel prices.

Comparing petrol prices worldwide, or within specific regions, is inexact given price fluctuations, varying prices, government policies, and limited reporting. And as is the case in South Africa, it's usually taxes, levies, and government subsidies that decide how much above or below the global average a country's price is.

See also | Petrol is now R19.61 per litre in Gauteng – and 32% of that goes to taxes

Some countries, for example, only set maximum fuel prices, and allow retailers to compete at lower prices. Others, like South Africa, legislate the exact price companies will charge for a litre of petrol. And in the case of Venezuela, where the government heavily subsidises some fuel, it's as good as free at 40c a litre.

According to Global Fuel Prices, South Africa's petrol price isn't astronomically high compared to most countries. The global average price per litre of 95-octane fuel is currently R19.13 - 58c less than South Africa's current fuel price. But petrol is quite a bit pricier here than it is in most neighbouring countries:

In general, fuel in wealthy, developed countries is considerably more expensive than in poorer countries, with some exceptions - and it's surprisingly cheap in several African nations.

The average fuel price in the USA is R15.17 per litre. And South Africans emigrating to Australia might be pleased to know that fuel there is currently, on average, about R18.13 a litre. 

But those in Europe will know that petrol there is hugely expensive. A litre of 95-octane costs around R30 a litre in the United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Portugal, and Italy. In Scandinavia, you can expect to pay between R32 and R34 a litre. And in the Netherlands, you'll pay just under R35 a litre. At the top of the list is Hong Kong, where petrol can cost as much as R43.22 per litre.

Here's how much petrol costs in South Africa compared to the cheapest and most expensive countries:

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