Students feel the petrol pinch

Students who use the national roads in Gauteng (and not Malawi) were served another blow to their already gantry-sucked pockets.

The fuel price increased by a further 39 cents yesterday morning, after a 30 cent increase in December, raising the petrol price to an all time high of R13.96 for a litre of unleaded petrol. Diesel went up by 24 cents bringing it to R13.15 a litre. The Automobile Association predicts that by the end of the year petrol prices may increase to a staggering R16 per litre.

Driving woes: It's costing more and more for students to drive themselves to campus. Photo: Mia Swart

DRIVING WOES: It’s costing more and more for students to drive themselves to campus. Photo: Mia Swart

Alicia Jacobs, 1st BComm is a new driver but plans to use public transport to try and alleviate some of her costs. “Luckily I have access to reliable public transport but there are days driving through will be necessary, so I’ll do that.” She added that travelling does cost people too much money and has no idea, “how people are meant to keep up and still live off what they earn.”

Second year politics student, Xavier Mann said this increase was crazy considering how “bad the rand is doing at the moment”. At the beginning of last year Mann recalls paying just over R500 for a full tank in his VW Polo and is now paying around R630 to fill up his tank.

He added: “I think a good alternative for me right now would be starting a lift club with mates that live close to me.”

Mann also bemoaned the fact that on top of this increase are e-tolls, “I only have a part time job, I don’t make enough to keep up with increases and e-tolls.” He is taking a civil disobedience stance by not buying a tag or paying the bills sent to him and plans to keep doing so.

There was a half promise made by President Jacob Zuma late last year to look into e-toll concessions for students, but nothing has come of it yet. Afriforum Youth has launched an online petition to address this, amongst other e-tolling issues.

 

Fuel price hike worries students

SOME Wits university students have raised concerns of decreasing spending power on the back of rising fuel prices.

There are talks of an imminent fuel price hike in all grades of fuel this month, an increase of 82 cents from the current price.

Economist at Economics.co.za Mike Schussler said a fuel price hike is definitely on the cards, which has grave knock-on-effects on other living expenses.

“Inflation will go up and the average motorist will fork out R109 more per month on fuel. The average increase since December (2012) is about R250pm”, Schussler said.

Lucia Martinengo, 1st year BA, said fuel price hikes will severely impact her ability to spend on campus food.

“The fuel price is a stress in life, as I do not have money to buy food when the petrol price is high.  Either I sacrifice on buying food or spending on petrol for travel to school,” she said.

Martinengo added that fuel price increases will be a burden to her family as she currently spends R1 000 on fuel per month.

Students who find alternative ways for transport such as car pooling clubs will also feel the pinch in travelling costs and money for food. “Money is scarce for food, as my car pooling costs are currently R500 per week and with the fuel price increase my costs will be R600, the best option would be to make food at home, ” said Firdaus Shcik, 1st year BA.

Students also said they will feel additional financial pressure when the e-toll system comes into effect. “When the e-toll system comes in place it will affect me, with additional fuel prices”, said Dino Sardiaos, said 1st year BA.

Dawie Roodt, economist at Efficient Group, said higher international oil prices and the weaker rand are the main drivers of an upsurge in fuel prices. He added that consumers can breathe a sigh of relief, as economists expect a small drop in fuel prices later in the year.