Gas prices plunge as much as 30% at the pumps
Adele Ramo, Amandala
Gas prices were one of the biggest gripes of Belizeans in the spate of protests in 2005, and so it was big news this morning when gas prices took a massive plunge from their burdensome 10-dollar mark, to a far more affordable $7 overnight—a price not seen in Belize for almost five years.
One consumer described the price shift as “a big relief,” and many drivers were celebrating the fact that they could now get more at the pumps out of their hard-earned dollars.
With changes that took effect at midnight last night, the price of a gallon of Premium is now $7.41 in Belize City, and $7.66 in Punta Gorda - one of the municipalities that see the highest pump prices in the country.
Belize has not seen prices in this range since 2003/2004. Amandala’s archival data indicates that in June 2004, for example, the price of a gallon of Premium was $8.05, while Regular gas was tagged at $7.91. In December 2003, Premium gas was $7.34 a gallon; in April 2004, it was $7.94 a gallon.
Prices shot past the $11-dollar mark in July/August this year, when Diesel reached an oppressive $11.74.
When King’s Service Station in Punta Gorda opened this morning, they were able to roll back the prices from yesterday’s high of $10.35 for a gallon of Regular gas to $7.29. In Belize City, Esso Super Station was selling a gallon of Regular gas for $3.06 cheaper than it was yesterday, while kerosene prices were down by $2.38, now tagged at $6.79.
The most notable change since pump prices fell off their extraordinary highs in August is in the price of Diesel – a very important fuel for the productive sector. Of note is that the price of Diesel has nosedived 40%. Amandala has received reports from service stations that Diesel is now $6.96 a gallon in Belize City and $7.21 in Punta Gorda.
On the world market, crude oil prices continue to swing like a haphazard pendulum, for every reason from slowing demand to renewed confidence in the US dollar due to Barack Obama’s milestone victory. But still, crude oil prices are more than 50% lower than they were when they peaked at US$147 a barrel in July this year.
Consequently, gas prices fell more than 40% at pumps in the US following summer’s record highs.
Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow said publicly this week that the pump prices have been buffered by the replacement of the Revenue Replacement Duty (RRD) with a new flat tax.
Amandala’s attempts to get detailed information on the breakdown of what makes up the new pump prices, including acquisition costs and taxes, from the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Finance and the Bureau of Standards have so far proved futile.
This afternoon the Government issued a press release [not on GOB website], informing of the decline in pump prices. It says that the price revision is “…in keeping with government’s commitment to pass on in full any decrease in the acquisition cost to the Belizean consumers.”
It adds that any further changes in acquisition costs would, similarly, be passed on at the pumps.