Global oil crunch hits Samoans
Local motorists are continuing to feel the financial pain of rising fuel prices at the gas station as petrol prices show no sign of slowing down.
The Minister of Finance, Mulipola Anarosa Ale-Molio'o, has released a statement from the Ministry of Finance, to indicate the changes to petrol prices, effective as of 1 December.
According to the statement, the retail price for petrol increased by 29.55 sense per litre from $2.86 to $3.15. Diesel increased by 29.56 sense per litre from $2.74 to $3.03, and kerosene will increase by 27.49 sense per litre from $2.39 to $2.66.
The statement continued to state that the December 2021 prices are based on the October calculation for the average price of fuel in Singapore (also known as the Mean Platts of Singapore or M.O.P.S.).
M.O.P.S. recorded an average price increase of $13 a barrel, pushing up prices at the pump for Samoan drivers.
The Minister’s statement goes on to attribute the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (O.P.E.C.) holding crude oil supplies as one of the main drivers of the increase.
The fuel shortage has hit motorists worldwide.
A barrel of Brent crude oil was USD$67 in May this year. By mid-November that had risen to more than USD$86 a barrel.
The International Energy Agency (I.E.A.) made up of 30 member countries and eight association countries released an analysis of the situation that urged the world “to shape a secure and sustainable energy future for all”.
The I.E.A analysis found that the COVID-19 pandemic-led economic slowdown caused a historic slump in demand for global oil last year.
But only rapid policy changes to energy policy will ensure Governments - and consumers - are not hostage to the cartel of oil producers that largely sets the market price.
The O.P.E.C.’s decision has also been compounded by an increase in shipping costs and reliability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which have led to a general rise in the price of goods.
The I.E.A forecasts that the demand for gasoline could never return to pre-pandemic levels as consumers shift to electric vehicles and more energy efficient cars.
Meanwhile, long time bus owner and driver, Alailesulu Ituau Faapalo Toomalatai of Aleipata, said that the rise in petrol prices does not help with the coincidence of the rising cost of living in Samoa.
The cost of petrol leaves nearly no profit for the bus owner, he said.
Alailesulu said feeding a family in the face of such cost rises in fuel and food was simply becoming too expensive.
Two taxi drivers were sympathetic to the situation in the world oil markets.
Ivan Ualesi of Vaitele Fou and Farani Sila Aimalefoa of Toamua said that the cost of fuel does not surprise them. They did however say that it does not help that the price of business licenses for taxis remained high despite a decline in weekly income due to the COVID-19 crisis.
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