Unleaded 95 octane petrol is expected to drop 8c a litre in February, but 93 octane petrol, diesel and illuminating paraffin are all set for a price rise in February, according to the Automobile Association (AA).

Commenting on unaudited mid-month fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund, the AA said 93 octane petrol was showing a 1c/l rise, with 13c hikes for both grades of diesel, and 10c for illuminating paraffin.

“International oil prices surged nearly $2 a gallon in late December before beginning a recovery, which was halted by the recent tension between the US and Iran,” the AA says.

“In the first week of January, the $2 mark was tested again, albeit with a slight recovery since.”

The AA says the rand, which improved to R13.95/$ at the end of December, has also begun to tick up, passing R14.40/$ at the close on Tuesday.

“This rise means bad news for fuel users and comes at a time when many consumers are already feeling the financial pinch,” the association noted.

The AA says political tension in the Middle East, one of the world’s richest oil-producing regions, is likely to produce continued uncertainty, which will feed into oil price movements.

“The rand’s performance will be key in keeping any further oil hikes at bay,” it concluded.

Motorists are paying substantially more for fuel than they did a year ago. Inland pump prices are now R16.16 for a litre of 95 octane unleaded petrol and R14.67 for 50ppm diesel.