Following UPP’s call for reduction in fuel prices, Browne Administration lowers them, but not to pre-war levels, as asked

As of today, Monday, December 19, the Government has reduced the prices of fuel at the pump – and this appears to be in answer to a direct call, by the United Progressive Party (UPP), for a pull-back to pre-Ukrainian War levels.

During a press conference last Tuesday, December 13, the Party’s Political Leader, Harold Lovell, challenged Prime Minister Gaston Browne to immediately give consumers a reprieve at the pumps.

Lovell noted that the price for crude oil that day was just over US$70 a barrel on the world market, while gas and diesel prices were over $15 and $16 per gallon, respectively, on the local market.

He pointed out that, prior to the Ukraine War, when the price per barrel was just above US$90, the price of gas here was $12.50 a gallon.

Now, in a move which many see as the Browne Administration yielding to pressure and an election gimmick at the same time, Browne says the Government has decided to pass on the international price drop to local consumers.

In a letter to Gregory Georges, the Chief Executive Officer of the West Indies Oil Company (WIOC) Ltd., Financial Secretary Whitfield Harris Jr. says the price of gas would move from $15.54 per gallon to $13.99, while diesel has been reduced from $16.79 per gallon to $14.25.

At these prices, the Government reportedly is receiving a consumption tax of approximately $3.28 per gallon for gasoline and approximately $1.48 for diesel. 

This is the second fuel reduction within three months (the last one being September 7) and the most significant one since March, when a hike of over $3 was the first increase implemented.

The UPP had called for a greater reduction in gas prices – by at least $3.04 per gallon – which would have taken the commodity back down to its pre-war level of $12.50, and a reduction in diesel of at least $4.59, taking it to the pre-war level of $12.20.

The last price reduction on gasoline saw the commodity move from $16.57 per gallon to $15.54,  a reduction of $1.03.

At that time, the price for diesel saw no new reduction and remained at $16.79 per gallon.  In July, it was dropped by a mere 46 cents.