KINGSTOWN: The Government of St. Vincent & the Grenadines has announced a reduction in fuel prices and petroleum products, including “cooking gas”, which is being reduced for the first time since 2011.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said the price of gasoline has been reduced to EC$11.47 (one EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) from EC$12.72.
This represents the fifth reduction since October 2014, when the price was EC$15.28 per gallon.
Diesel will now retail for EC$11.05 per gallon, down from the current price of EC$12.92.
There is now a new classification of “low-sulphur diesel”, which will sell for EC$11.80 per gallon, down from EC$12.92. The low-sulphur diesel is more expensive because it is imported from outside the region and attracts a higher tariff.
The largest saving is on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), commonly called “cooking gas”.
A 20-pound cylinder of cooking gas will now sell for EC$29, down from EC$41.81, while a 100-pound cylinder of LPG will now sell for EC$138, down from EC$197.05.
The reduction in the prices comes amidst complaints from consumers about the lack of reaction by the government to adjust the prices even as the price of oil internationally has fallen by more than half since last June to US$50 per barrel.
The government uses a three-month rolling average and the bonus-malus system to determine the price of fuel locally.
During a Chamber of Industry of Commerce event last week, accountant Brian Glasgow, who gave an overview of the 2015 National Budget, spoke on the implications of the falling oil prices on the local economy.
“Anything that represents a reduction in the cost of living is certainly welcomed,” he said. “Energy, as far as I remember from looking at the financial statements of a number of manufacturing industries…does represent a reasonably significant component of the cost of production. To the extent that energy can be reduced and the cost of production falls, that benefits the consumer and it facilitates expansion of the manufacturing sector.”