Gas prices up for 5th consecutive week

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star
Gas prices up for 5th consecutive week
This is the fifth consecutive week that gasoline prices have increased.
KJ Rosales

MANILA, Philippines — Gasoline prices are higher by P.90 per liter today due to the uptrend in the Asian oil market.

This is the fifth consecutive week that gasoline prices have increased.

Meanwhile, there will be no price adjustments for diesel and kerosene.

Caltex Philippines will adjust prices at 12:01 a.m.

Eastern Petroleum Corp., Petro Gazz, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., PTT Philippines Corp. and Total Philippines Corp. will implement the adjustments starting 6 a.m.

Other oil companies have yet to announce their respective price adjustments as of press time.

Based on the Department of Energy (DOE)’s monitoring, the Asian gasoline market continued to rally on strengthened fundamentals.

“In addition to the refinery turnarounds in the region, demands from Malaysia and Indonesia remained strong,” it said.

There was no movement in diesel prices since the Asian gas/oil/diesel market has been moving downwards this week based on DOE monitoring. 

“Sentiments seemingly softer on the back of more supplies being seen in the region due to unworkable arbitrage economics which resulted in supplies being closed within the region. Another reason was that some refiners had pushed forward turnaround schedules, leading to more supplies,” it said.

Meanwhile, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi is opposing the increased coconut content in biodiesel from two percent to five percent, which could jack up diesel prices.

“How come the copra price is going down but the price of CME remains high?” Cusi said, referring to coconut methyl ester.

Due to this, Cusi ordered the National Biofuels Board (NBB) to study a proposal of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to increase the biofuel content in diesel from B2 to B5 to absorb oversupply in the copra industry.

Cusi said both the DOE and DA would form a task force that will conduct a holistic study to help farmers while preventing a price increase in diesel products.

Petroleum and biofuels consultant Rafael Diaz Jr. said the Philippines has lagged behind peer countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia.

“All countries in the world are at B5 except the Philippines which is the only country at B2. Ironically, Phl was the first country in the world to mandate a biodiesel blend in 2007,” Diaz said.

He said government officials are fed the wrong information on the price impact of increasing the CME content in biodiesel.

“With the current B2 pump price at P44 per liter and a CME price index of P51 per liter (as of March 1, 2019), the cost impact of B5 pump price over B2 pump price (P/L) will only be 21 centavos or .48 percent increase, very negligible compared to the multi-benefits it provides, specially in fuel cost savings from mileage gain (P/km) and wellness of public health,” he said.

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