How much are you paying for gasoline, electricity and food in South Africa compared to a year ago

Households in South Africa continue to face a flurry of price hikes in 2022 as inflation approaches the top of the Reserve Bank’s range, causing the cost of living to quickly spiral out of control and forcing many to resorting to credit and other forms of debt only to make it through to the end of each month.

After two years of pressure from the Covid-19 pandemic and heavy government blockades, the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 has put the global economy on high alert, with countries trying to curb rising oil prices. energy and food amid inflationary pressure.

Meanwhile, South Africa continues to battle a strained electricity supply, which has led to record load shedding, socio-political inability due to government inaction, corruption and policy stagnation over the past decade.

Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for March 2022 plotted headline inflation at 5.9%, at the upper end of the South African Reserve Bank’s containment range.

While the main CPI is still within the “allowable” range, many of the essential items in the basket – fuel, electricity and food – are seeing price increases well outside this range.


Fuel prices

Fuel in CPI is settling at 33.2% compared to 2021 and is the largest contributor to the relatively high main CPI. Within the transport category, high fuel prices also pushed public transport costs up, with year-on-year inflation of 13%.

A liter of gasoline in May 2021 would have cost a motorist R17.23. In May 2022, this increased by 26.8% to R21.84. A 45-liter gas tank that would have cost R775 last year will now cost you just over R980, adding over R200 to the bill.

This significant increase was largely beyond South Africa’s control, with global oil prices pushed up by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the rand’s weakness against the recovering dollar – the other component. main local fuel prices – largely at the mercy of global market trends.

The picture for diesel is even worse: a liter of diesel in May 2021 would have cost R14.46 at wholesale prices. In 2022, this jumped 52% to 21.99 R2 per liter, costing more than a liter of gasoline for the first time.


Food prices

Food prices are also above the main CPI at 6.7%, with some items in the basket substantially above that. Meat prices stood out by 9.1% more than in 2021, while oil and fat are much more expensive, with an increase of 20.4%.

As food prices fluctuate from month to month, as many families can testify, things have gotten a lot more expensive over the past year.

The latest Household Affordability Index from the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group (PMBEJD) shows that food prices in April 2022 are about 8.2% more expensive than in 2021.

The group tracks a basket of 44 commonly purchased food items, totaling R4,542.93 in April 2022, about R330 more expensive than the same basket in 2021.

As with fuel, the ongoing war in Ukraine continues to be the main global driver of rising food prices, due to disruptions in the global supply chain and rising energy prices.


Electricity prices

Households continue to pay for incompetence in the energy sector, with Eskom increasingly turning to tariff increases to balance debt payments and capital spending problems.

Energy regulator Nersa has granted Eskom a 9.6% tariff increase for direct customers, starting April 2022, with another 7.47% municipal electricity tariff increase coming into effect in July 2022.

The price increases will bring the average electricity tariff in South Africa from just over R1.33 per kWh to around R1.46. The average reflects the national average: urban customers who consume energy in the higher blocks will pay much more.

In the CPI basket, electricity prices also far exceed headline inflation, averaging 13.3% across all provinces.

Mpumalanga has the highest electricity and energy inflation at 15.3%, followed by Gauteng at 14.8%. The Northern Cape has the lowest inflationary pressure at 11.1%, however, this value remains above nominal inflation.

How much more you will pay exactly depends on the type of electricity customer you are. Eskom has published his Tariff adjustment 2022/23 and included a rate calculator and comparison tool.

An urban resident who uses around 200 kWh per month in Gauteng would see their monthly consumption the energy bill of R550 increases to R600.


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