The financial burden of consumers on their fuel needs will rise anew by significant amount this week, with gasoline prices increasing by P1.80 per liter, as announced by the oil companies.

The price of diesel products will also be on uptrend to the tune of P1.50 per liter; while kerosene products will climb by P1.30 per liter.

As of this writing, the oil companies that already sent notices on their price hikes effective Tuesday (October 19) had been Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation, Cleanfuel, Seaoil, PetroGazz and Chevron, while their industry rivals are anticipated to follow.

Because of the relentless spikes in pump prices, the oil companies are largely considered as “the grinch” that will steal Christmas joy from Filipino consumers – and that’s mainly because of the spiraling effect of rising oil prices on the costs of basic goods and services.

And while the oil industry players have their heyday enforcing upward adjustments in fuel prices, Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate is reviving calls on the concretization of the proposed “fuel cost unbundling policy” of the government, so the consumers can be fully apprised for what they would be paying for at the pumps.

This is already the third week this October of hefty price upswings at the country’s petroleum pumps and there is no end in sight yet on these incessant cost escalations.

Global oil prices already escalated to the level of US$84 to US&85 per barrel in last week’s trading, but experts are anticipating further swell in fuel prices in the months head.

The continued tightening of oil supply due to resuscitated economic rebound in various parts of the world, compounded by energy crisis in key markets such as China, India and some parts of Europe, are seen exacerbating supply crunch in oil markets.

The Philippine petroleum industry, which is heavily dependent on imports, is likewise agonizing further in financial pain if the projected US$100 per barrel oil will eventually come off.

There is price cushion mechanism under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, but this is pegged at US$80 per barrel on average within a quarter before fuel excise taxes can be suspended in the succeeding quarter.

Boom-and-bust cycles in global oil markets have been a recurring scenario; and the highest oil price logged had been at US$147 per barrel in July 2008.

When price upticks happen, it’s usually the smaller and import-leaning markets that are bound to suffer; and this is exactly the case for the Philippines.

Based on the monitoring of the Department of Energy (DOE), year-to-date adjustments in oil prices already hovered at P16.55 per liter for gasoline; P15.00 per liter for diesel; and P12.74 per liter for kerosene. ###