For some time now I’ve been working on some ideas around presenting the monthly fluctuation in the petrol price in an easy-to-understand and interactive form. For many people the sudden and seemingly volatile changes in the petrol price inspire thoughts of conspiracy (clearly government is fleecing us) and yet the actual changes in the petrol price are mostly rational and based on well-established principles and numbers. Obviously we, as citizenry, can complain that the various taxes applied to the price of petrol are excessive, or indeed insufficient, but the factors that affect the price of petrol month-to-month are largely out of our hands and even out of the direct hands of government (though their impact on the exchange rate is often fairly clear).

Yesterday (May 3, 2017) the petrol price again went up, this time by 49c for 95 octane petrol in inland provinces (the usual benchmark).

With this in mind I decided to try and complete a portion of the the ongoing petrol price project and release that on its own, which I did. This portion tries to explain the major inputs and costs that are used to calculate the price of petrol at the pump. The chart does some grouping of costs to simplify it and breaks it down into the two major components: the basic fuel price on the one hand, and the various taxes, tariffs and costs on the other.

If the embedded version below doesn’t work correctly please take a look at the full version on petrol page.


For the technically inclined, the majority of the graphic is built using D3.js. There’s a little bit of JQuery in there which I could probably replace with D3 which I may do in the next iteration.

If you have any thoughts on this, or questions, you can always find me on Twitter.