How much petrol and tolls cost to Durban and Cape Town this December

South African holiday-goers planning to travel long distances by car this festive season will be paying substantially more on fuel and tolls than in previous years.

Petrol and diesel prices have jumped to unprecedented highs in the past year, primarily due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushing up Brent Crude oil prices.

In the latter part of the year, the US Dollar has also performed strongly against other currencies — including the Rand — further contributing to the prices of international petroleum products bought by South Africa.

In February 2022, the South African National Roads Agency also increased toll fees in line with the Consumer Price Index calculated by Statistics South Africa.

It hiked toll fees on major highways and off-ramp gantries by 5%.

It also increased prices on e-tolls, but based on the finance minister’s mid-term budget policy speech and promises by the Gauteng provincial government, these should soon be scrapped.

The combination of higher fuel prices and toll fees will mean a larger chunk of holiday budgets must go into travel costs.

Caltex fuel station in South Africa. Editorial credit: Nova Photo Works / Shutterstock.com

MyBroadband calculated how much motorists would be spending to travel along some of the country’s most popular routes — factoring in petrol expenditure and toll fees.

Because diesel prices can also be wildly different from one station to the next, we opted to focus instead on petrol-powered vehicles.

The wide selection of cars available in the country also comes with varying fuel consumption figures.

We used the Volkswagen Polo for our estimation, given that it is often among the country’s best-selling cars.

The VWSA Kariega plant in Uitenhage recently reported it had rolled the 2-millionth unit from its Polo and Polo Vivo range.

The Polo Vivo Trendline 1.4, the most affordable option, boasts an impressive fuel consumption of 4 litres per 100km, or 25 kilometres per litre, on highways.

But considering that many travellers’ cars will be packed with passengers and luggage, we’ve opted to rather use its combined fuel consumption of 5 litres per 100km, or 20 kilometres per litre.

Volkswagen Polo Vivo

The most expensive route turned out to be the N1 between Pretoria and Polokwane, costing R1.91 per kilometre.

Over the 260km distance of this route, motorists will have to pay total toll fees of R191 across four toll plazas.

For a VW Polo Vivo driver, the petrol over this route will cost about R305.

Given its low fuel consumption level compared to other cars, this amount will likely be much higher for most drivers.

The N4 between Pretoria and Nelspruit came in at a close second for the most expensive route, with a cost per kilometre of R1.86.

Over the 314km distance between these two cities, toll fees amounted to R216.

That is much more expensive than the R205.50 in toll fees that a motorist has to pay on the N1 between Johannesburg and Cape Town over a distance of 1,398km.

But the cheapest route per kilometre is the N2 between Cape Town and George, which worked out to R1.14 per litre.

This low cost was primarily because it does not have a single toll gantry along its 428km route.

The table below compares travel costs along South Africa’s major highways between some of the country’s most popular holiday destinations.

Toll and petrol costs on popular South African highways
Route Distance Petrol cost Toll fees Total cost per one-way trip Cost per kilometre
N1 Pretoria to Polokwane 260km R304.98* R191.00 R495.98 R1.91
N4 Pretoria to Nelspruit 314km R368.32* R216.00 R584.32 R1.86
N4 Pretoria to Rustenburg 129km R151.32* R69.50 R220.82 R1.71
N3 Johannesburg to Durban 567km R665.09* R286.50 R951.59 R1.68
N1 Johannesburg to Bloemfontein 398km R466.85* R161.00 R627.85 R1.58
N1 Johannesburg to Cape Town 1,398km R1,639.85* R205.50 R1,845.35 R1.32
N2 Durban to Empangeni 163km R185.90** R80.50 R266.40 R1.63
N2 Cape Town to George 428km R488.13** R0.00 R488.13 R1.14
N2 Port Elizabeth to George 324km R369.52** R59.50 R429.02 R1.32
*Based on the inland unleaded 95 price of R23.46 per litre
**
Based on the coastal unleaded 95 price of R22.81 per litre. 

Now read: South African app shows which petrol stations to use for best rewards and cheapest diesel

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How much petrol and tolls cost to Durban and Cape Town this December