Bargain reports and analytics

Petrol Index 2021: who can fill up the most amount of petrol for the average wage?

PicodiJul 22, 2021 analysis team examined the change in petrol prices in the first half of 2021 compared to the previous year and counted how many litres of petrol South Africans can buy for the average wage.

Increase of prices on petrol stations

The first half of 2021 was characterised by the gradual defrosting of the economy and an increase in petrol prices compared to the first half of 2020. In African countries, the highest price spikes were noted in Nigeria (+28.3%) and Kenya (+18.1%).

South Africa noted an 12.1% increase in prices, ranking 3rd among considered African countries. Petrol prices also increased in Algeria (+7.7%).

The opposite trend was noted only in Egypt and Tunisia, where the average year to year petrol prices slightly decreased.

Petrol Index 2021

In African countries, Algerians fill up petrol the cheapest – in this country, 1 litre of petrol costs $0.34. In South Africa, the average petrol price in the first half of 2021 was R16.06 or $1.14, which means it placed 1st out of 7 considered countries.

This year, we checked again how many litres of petrol can be bought for the average wage in various African countries.

(click the arrows to see data from the remaining 6 countries)

For the third year in a row, the undefeated leader of the ranking is South Africa with 1,237 litres of petrol. Algeria and Kenya complete the podium with 742 and 437 litres respectively.

In South Africa, according to the Stats SA latest data, the average gross salary amounts to R23,122 (R19,861.11 net a month). It means that an average South African can buy 1,237 litres of petrol for the average monthly wage (1st place). In the previous year, South Africans could buy 1,345 litres of petrol for the average wage.

Lower in the ranking were countries such as Nigeria (431 litres), Tunisia (414 litres), or Egypt (401 litres).

Zambia took last place with 214 litres.

The world leaders

(hover over the country to see the information)

Among 104 researched countries, the lowest petrol price was noted in Algeria ($0.34 per litre), and the highest price – in Hong Kong ($2.44 per litre).

In the global purchasing power ranking, the Gulf countries are consistently on the podium:

  1. Qatar – 6,532 litres;
  2. Saudi Arabia – 5,170 litres;
  3. Kuwait – 5,158 litres.

Americans can buy 4,723 litres of petrol for the average wage, Australians – 4,128 litres, Canadians – 2,616 litres, and Russians – 938 litres.

The worst situation was noted in Cuba. In this country, 26 litres of petrol can be bought for the average wage (2 litres less than in the previous year). Only a little better were Tajikistan and Zambia, with 188 and 214 litres.

It is also worth looking at Venezuela. This country struggles with an unstable economic situation, yet maintained last year’s limits on petrol purchases. Each citizen can buy 120 litres of petrol for about $0.002 per litre. Once the limit is exceeded, the price of petrol increases to $0.50 per litre. According to our calculations, the average wage in this country allows you to buy 230 litres of petrol (120 litres of subsidised and 110 litres in full price) which is 82 litres more than last year.


Petrol Index is an annual ranking of petrol prices to wages ratio, conducted by Picodi since 2019.

This report uses the average net monthly wages according to the latest available data provided by offices for national statistics or relevant ministries. In some countries, where official wage statistics are not available, we used information from Numbeo.

The average prices for the first half of 2021 in 104 countries are based on data from and other local sources. In order to obtain the number of litres, we divided the average wage by the average price of 1 litre of petrol. For currency conversion, we used the Google Finance average exchange rate for the last 90 days.

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