Pump prices are finally on hefty rollbacks next week

After 11 weeks of ascend for petroleum products to be lined up as ‘luxury goods’ that ordinary Filipino consumers can no longer afford, pump prices will finally be on significant rollbacks next week.

In the calculation of the oil companies based on the outcome of five-day trading in the world market, diesel prices will be reduced by P11.50 to P11.70 per liter; while gasoline prices will go down by P6.00 to P6.25 per liter.

For kerosene, which is another commodity depended upon by households and key industries, its price will also decline by P8.55 to P8.75 per liter by Tuesday (March 22), in keeping with the weekly price adjustments routine in the deregulated downstream oil sector.

The Philippine oil companies are estimating the weekly price swings based on cost movements of the Mean of Platts Singapore (MOPS). But apart from that, they also factor in premium charges as well foreign exchange rate fluctuation and the biofuel components blended into diesel and gasoline products.

Consumers are being warned though that this week’s price rollbacks may just be very temporary, as Friday (March 18) global trading results had shown international benchmark Brent crude rising again to $107 to $108 per barrel from a drop to less than $100 per barrel in earlier days of the week.

Dubai crude, which is the pricing reference for Asian oil markets, likewise inched up to $108 per barrel on Friday, roughly $3 per barrel jump from prior day’s trading.

As culled from the monitoring report of the Department of Energy (DOE), aggregate increases from the past 11 weeks already accrued to P30.65 per liter for diesel; P20.35 per liter for gasoline; and P21.90 per liter for kerosene products.

Manifestly, the forthcoming price cutbacks are considerably leaner if compared to last week’s humongous price hikes of P13.15 per liter for diesel; P10.50 per liter for kerosene; and P7.10 per liter for gasoline products.

In a related development, leading oil firm Petron Corporation is offering P88 per 11-kilogram tank discount on its Gasul liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) if consumers will refill their cooking fuel cylinders.

“Discount is valid to one (1) transaction per household per customer; and maximum two (2) transactions for the duration of the promo period,” the company said – and that runs from March 19 to April 30, 2022.

It added that “promo is open to nationwide household delivery via PGED (Petron Gas Express Delivery) hotline no. 88000 only.”

In the sea of uncertainties overwhelming the oil markets – primarily with radical price spikes, the government is still not bending over to calls of suspending the excise taxes for petroleum products. Instead, the strategy fleshed out by the economic managers will be to extend targeted subsidies to critical sectors -- such as for public transport, farmers and fishermen as well as the marginalized Filipino consumers.

At this stage, global experts do not foresee any sustained downtrend in oil prices – especially after negotiations between Russia and Ukraine had decimated again, hence, in the weeks ahead, incessant price rally may reign again at the retail pumps.

Given such lingering predicaments, the International Energy Agency (IEA) had apprised consumers that they can buck the odds of skyrocketing fuel prices by staying home, steering clear of air travels and practicing energy-efficient lifestyles. (MMV)