Petrol Price Pain: What would it cost to drive to the RWC 2023 final?

In October 2023, South Africans faced a notable increase in petrol prices, with a rise of ZAR 4.21 since the start of the year. As global fuel prices continue to fluctuate, consumers are left grappling with the economic consequences at home.

South Africa has been battered by petrol and diesel price increases in recent years, matching a worldwide crisis. Crunching the numbers has only intensified the pain at the pumps.

To lighten the mood, we thought we’d take a look at the sporting calendar to see how the consumer gas disaster would play out in the extreme at a series of events.

October Fuel Prices in South Africa: How much to fill your tank

Fuel prices are taken from the Automobile Association (AA) website. For our calculations, we’re using the October 2023 price of Unleaded 95 petrol bought at a coastal garage, which stands at ZAR 24.96 per litre.

Vehicle TypeTank Capacity (liters)Cost Coastal (ZAR)Cost Inland (ZAR)
Compact Sedan/Hatchback501248.01284.0
Mid-Size SUV651622.41669.2
Large SUV/4×4902246.42311.2

With that almighty horror out of the way, it’s time for a good dose of: well, it could always be worse. If you were to do something as barking mad as these journeys, here’s what it’d cost you.

2023 Rugby World Cup Final, Paris

Journey: Ellis Park, Johannesburg, to Stade de France, Paris.
Distance: 12,415km
Fuel Cost:

  • Compact Sedan/Hatchback: ZAR 17,043.31
  • Mid-Size SUV: ZAR 24,790.27
  • Large SUV/4×4: ZAR 37,185.41

What do you mean ‘but the Springboks haven’t even qualified yet’? Have some faith in Rassie Erasmus, Siya Kolisi, and Co, people, as they do the business in Europe, thanks to group stage wins over Scotland, Romania, and Tonga. If you’re thinking of making one of those mad, pan-African road trips that you see on TikTok (formerly in bestselling paperback books in airport departures), then here’s the fuel hit.

2023 Africa Cup of Nations Draw, Abidjan

Journey: FNB Stadium, Soweto, to Parc des Expositions d’Abidjan.
Distance: 7,690km
Fuel Cost

  • Compact Sedan/Hatchback: ZAR 10,556.83
  • Mid-Size SUV: ZAR 15,355.39
  • Large SUV/4×4: ZAR 23,033.09

Bafana Bafana have qualified for Afcon and finally started to match the achievements of female counterparts Banyana Banyana. To celebrate, let’s take a drive up the west coast of the continent and head to host nation Cote d’Ivoire to watch the draw in person – and to make sure they don’t fix it so the South Africans end up in a group with Morocco and Nigeria.

Just a caveat, just in case: While these numbers give a quirky way to view the staggering fuel price in South Africa, it’s not a straightforward comparison. Driving through various countries means encountering different petrol prices and currency conversions. The ZAR 24.96 per litre price tag in South Africa is just the starting point. As you venture further, you’ll inevitably refuel in territories where petrol costs might be higher or lower. So while our calculations present a fun hypothetical, real-world costs could differ.