Gasoline and diesel here are higher than anywhere else in the Caribbean, and is among the top 50 countries in the world with the highest charges for petrol, leaving one local consumer advocate to wonder whether Government was not “profiteering”.
Although there was a drop in the price of diesel from $2.63 per litre at the end of February to $2.60 per litre as at midnight last night, this was still higher than other Caribbean countries for which data was available for on the website Globalpetrolprices.com, which updates gas prices for more than 100 countries on a weekly and monthly basis.
The average price of diesel around the world was $2.08 per litre at the end of last month, while it retailed at $2.33 in Grenada; $2.26 in Jamaica and the Bahamas; $2.08 in Cuba; $2.07 in St Lucia; $1.98 in Guyana and $1.51 in Dominica.
The local price point of $2.63 at the end of February made Barbados the 44th most costly out of 166 countries on the list, tied with Belize and Zambia.
Iceland had the highest price at $4.05, while Venezuela was listed at zero, Iran at 18 cents and Saudi Arabia at 25 cents. Trinidad and Tobago was ninth cheapest at 71 cents.
On the other hand, the price of gasoline, which was being retailed at $3.29 per litre here at the end of February, before climbing 15 cents to $3.44 as at midnight last night, well above the world average of $2.30 at the end of last month, makes
Barbados the 23rd most costly of 167 countries.
Gasoline was retailing in Cuba at $2.49 per litre at the end of last month; $2.43 in Grenada; $2.37 in the Bahamas; $2.35 in Jamaica, $2.07 in St Lucia; $1.97 in Guyana; $1.88 in Haiti; and at $1.75 in Dominica.
Trinidad and Tobago was again the cheapest in the region at $1.18 per litre, making it the 18th cheapest in the world, while in Venezuela the cost was two cents per litre, Sudan was 68 cents and Kuwait was 70 cents per litre.
in retail gas prices are due to the various taxes and subsidies imposed by each country, according to the website.
“As a general rule, richer countries have higher prices while poorer countries and the countries that produce and export oil have significantly lower prices. One notable exception is the US, which is an economically advanced country but has low gas prices,” it said.
It was in his May 30, 2017 Budget address that Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler announced a 25 cent per litre increase on the excise tax on gasoline, from 74 cents to 99 cents, and 24 cents on diesel, from 20 cents to 44 cents, in an effort to raise $50 million in revenue.
International crude oil prices averaged about US$63 per barrel last month.
Consumer rights advocate Malcolm Gibbs-Taitt described petrol prices here as “ridiculous”, saying it was not fair that Barbadians were paying more at the pump than most countries, including the US, despite a vast difference in wages.
“The American working and doing a similar job to his Barbadian counterpart is paid about four times more than we are but we are ending up paying about the same for our fuel products,” Gibbs-Taitt, the director general of the Barbados Consumers Research Organization, said, adding that the same could be said for other commodities.
“I have said for ages that our price is ridiculous and I can’t follow the rationale for our increases. If one just takes a simple glance at it you notice that gas prices will go up by 15 cents quite easily but when the time comes for a reduction it is reduced by two cents, and I have a problem with that. The truth is, one wonders if the price reflects what is happening on the world market because I am not so convinced it is. It looks as though it is a way of profiteering for the oil companies, whether it be Government or otherwise,” he said.