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Here’s how many litres of petrol your salary will buy – and where petrol is cheapest

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Here’s how many litres of petrol your salary will buy – and where petrol is cheapest


It’s no secret that the petrol price is dependent on many different factors, such as crude oil prices on the international markets; taxes, or margins established by petrol stations’ owners. The value of a litre of petrol at the retail point of sale may change overnight, in some countries even by the hour.

A new report by the Picodi Analysis Team calculated how many litres of petrol could be bought with the average wage in South Africa and other African countries, taking the average fuel price in the first half of 2019 and cross-referencing the data with the latest average wage in various countries.

Turns out that South Africans get the most bang for their buck in Africa when it comes to petrol. According to the analysis, South Africa takes the lead among 17 researched African countries — with the average South African wage, taken as R18,159,  you can get 1 215 litres of petrol.

Hot on SA’s heels are are Namibians (2nd place with 986 litres) and Algerians (3rd place with 777 litres).

The cheapest petrol in the region can be found in Algeria, at just 35 US cents per litre (converted from dinars). Filling the tank is most expensive in Mauritius, where the average price for a litre comes in at $1.33.

Lower in the ranking are countries like Uganda, Cameroon or Zambia. Here, the average salary allows for buying no more than 200 litres of petrol, which is only one-fifth of SA’s capacity.

The most disadvantaged are people from Madagascar, who can buy only 42 litres of petrol with their average salary.

Globally, the leaders are Persian Gulf countries. In Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, the price of 1 litre is around $0.4–0.6, and with the average salary there, they can buy from 4 900 to 6 500 litres of petrol.

The lowest global rankings are in Cuba (26 litres), Madagascar (42 litres) and Tajikistan (131 litres).

The Picodi report particularly noted Nigeria, saying: “Although it is a country extracting and exporting considerable amounts of oil and with one of the lowest prices per litre ($0.40), the really low average wage amounting to $201 does not allow its citizens for buying a big amount of petrol (501 litres).”

The report used the average net wages according to the latest available data from offices for national statistics or relevant ministries, Picodi said.

The average prices for petrol were used for the first half of 2019 in over 100 countries, based on data from and other local sources. The average wage was divided by the average price of a litre of petrol.

Currency conversions were taken as an average over 90 days.


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