Motorists queue up at a fuel pump before midnight on Monday, March 14, 2022 before fuel prices took the biggest jump so far this year. Image Credit: Screengrab

Manila: Brace for even bigger fuel price increases. That’s the warning given by the Philippines’ Department of Energy (DOE) to local consumers.

Amid lingering geopolitical concerns, petrol pump prices here have risen again on Tuesday, at an unprecedented jump, prompting many to queue up ahead of the J

Effective midnight on Tuesday, diesel prices jumped by Php13.15 ($0.25) a litre, while for petrol (gasoline) went up by Php7.10 per litre ($0.14) and kerosene jumped Php10.50 ($0.20) per litre. That explains the long queues of consumers filling up overnight on Monday in some petrol stations.

Brent Crude futures went down to $102 per barrel on Tuesday, while WTI slid to $98.17 per barrel, on hopes of a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine, and the lockdowns in China that could curb demand. However, lingering fears of a continuing supply risks keep crude prices at five-year highs.

fuel prices march 15, 2022
The new fuel price rates on Tuesday, March 15, 2022 at a fuel pump in the Philippines.

Appeal to oil companies

On Monday, the Philippines’ energy department called on oil companies to "help" the public by continuing to provide discounts to motorists and staggering their increases. That did not stop the 13-peso spike for diesel and 7-peso hike for petrol from happening. 

The agency, however, said it was also looking for other ways to provide temporary relief to consumers — people who buy liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for cooking or other petroleum products, according to assistant director Rodela Romero of the department’s Oil Industry Management Bureau.

The Philippine government has earmarked a $50 million fuel price subsidy to cushion the increase and its knock-on effect on prices of food and other necessities.

Romero said a bigger adjustment could be expected due to supply crunch issues, which could push oil prices even higher.

Biggest fuel price this year

The increase in pump prices this week would be the biggest so far this year. It is feared local fuel pump prices could soar to as much much as Php84 for diesel and Php94 for gasoline.

Moreover, LPG prices have gone up by PhpP7.95 a kilo this March. At an online briefing, Romero appealed to oil companies to continue offering discounts to some motorists as part of their corporate social responsibility and delay the implementation of the increases to ease the burden on consumers.

Fuel subsidies

The government also provides fuel subsidies to public transportation drivers and operators, farmers and fishermen amid the successive fuel price hikes. Now, there are calls for the suspension of the excise on fuel products to cushion the impact of the price increases.

The new round of fuel price rise is also bound to affect transportation fare.