Gasoline and diesel prices are going up for the second time in two months. From tomorrow, gasoline increases by $2.46 and will sell for $16.45 per gallon, while diesel will cost $15.75, a jump of $1.76.
The good news for commuters using public transportation, though, is that bus fares will remain at current rates, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance yesterday evening.
“The increases reflect a partial implementation of the market pass through mechanism for fuel prices, and are based on the ex-refinery price of the current fuel shipment, and on direct subsidies agreed to with the Bus Association and service station operators,” the statement said.
“In light of the subsidy to Bus Association members, the price of public transportation will not change at this time,” it added.
Government has offered some hope that gas and diesel prices could drop.
It noted that crude oil prices have been trending downwards, and are projected to fall further in the short term.
“Under the pass through mechanism, therefore, the prices are likely to decrease with future shipments, should this trend continue,” the release said.
Yesterday oil prices climbed above US $111 a barrel on the international market.
The new prices at the pumps will top the high of $13.99 per gallon that consumers were paying for both products in the latest increase in mid-March.
Using figures provided by the Finance Ministry, that was the second lowest price for gasoline in the Eastern Caribbean. It was cheaper only for residents of St Vincent and the Grenadines where it is sold for $13.60 a gallon.
The newly announced prices, however, will make Antigua & Barbuda’s gasoline price the fourth highest. It is most expensive in Anguilla at $17.79 followed by St Kitts & Nevis and Montserrat. The diesel cost will be the second highest in the sub-region, behind the tiny Grenadian island of Carriacou where it is sold a few cents more expensive at $15.84.
The price hikes come as local gas dealers engage in negotiations with government to get an increase in their profit margins.
Sources have informed The Daily OBSERVER that government rejected the figure put forward by the dealers during the discussions that started two weeks ago, countering with its own.
Gas station owners had sought the raise after the last price hike in March. Back then, Public Relations Officer of the Service Station Dealers Association, Philbert Mason, said their margins were at the lowest ever, despite fuel prices reaching their highest.
The gas dealers currently get $1.08 for every gallon of gasoline and 95 cents for each gallon of diesel they sell.
Meantime, the price of cooking gas (LPG) will continue to be subsidized and will remain unchanged “as part of the Government’s social safety net”, the Finance Ministry said in its release.
The subsidies on LPG are $11 on the 20lb cylinder and $55 on the 100lb cylinder.