Energy agency monitoring 9-week fuel increase

The Department of Energy (DOE) is asking motorists to report fuel stations with extremely high or "unreasonable" fuel prices. But after nine straight weeks of price hikes, anything at this point can probably be called ‘unreasonable.’

DOE Undersecretary Gerardo Erguiza Jr. announced in a press conference that the agency is doing everything in its power to prevent retail outlets (fuel stations) from taking advantage of the situation (the non-stop increase in petroleum prices).

“As the pandemic is slowly improving, economic activities surge resulting to (the) utilization of more energy. The transportation was most hit and the demand for oil products has significantly increased,” Erguiza said.

As per Oil Industry Management Bureau director Rino Abad, the nationwide price of gasoline must be between Php 60 to Php 83 per liter. Diesel must be around Php 52 to Php 65 per liter, and kerosene should hover in the Php 61 to PHP68 per liter range.

Our crude oil supplies do not come from Russia directly. We get processed fuel from China, South Korea, and Japan, but those countries also source their crude from Russia. It is very possible -if not inevitable- that the Russia-Ukraine conflict wil impact the prices in our region.

The DOE adds that while we still have an ample supply of oil, we should watch our consumption to maintain our energy security and independence.

“We are not lacking in supply given that we source our crude oil requirements primarily from the Middle East, and finished products from Asia-Pacific. However, the impact of the Ukraine crisis on international oil markets does have a direct effect on our prices. (We must) observe energy efficiency and conservation measures during this critical period,” said Cusi.

Measures are also being undertaken by the agency to help protect the public from the effects of continuous fuel price hikes. The DOE has proposed the suspension of the excise tax of fuel and various amendments to the Oil Deregulation Law, among many others.