fuel prices march 15, 2022
Lower fuel price rates are expected to kick in from midnight on Tuesday, March 12, 2022 in the Philippines. Image Credit: Gulf News/ Jay Hilotin

Manila: At the stroke of midnight on Tuesday (March 22, 2022) fuel retailers are set to reduce prices of petroleum products, offering a relief for Filipino consumers following 11 straight weekly price increases at the pump.

Oil retailers Caltex, Cleanfuel, Jetti, Petro Gazz, PTT Philippines, Total, Seaoil, and Shell are all set to reduce diesel prices by Php11.45 ($0.20) per litre and Php5.45 ($0.085) per litre of gasoline, according to the state news agency.

Caltex, Seaoil, and Shell said they will also cut kerosene prices by Php8.55 per liter. The price rollback offers local consumer a respite after 11 weeks of price increases in as many weeks, PNA reported Monday.

Global oil market scene

Data from the Department of Energy (DoE) data show that as of Tuesday, March 15, there have been net increases of Php20.35 per litre for gasoline, Php30.65 for diesel, and Php24.90 for kerosene since January 2022.

Global crude oil rates continue to be highly volatile due to lingering geopolitical tensions, which trigger supply concerns. Benchmark Brent crude oil futures for May settlement jumped 3.95% to $112, while WTI 4.8% to $109 per barrel as of 8am GMT on Monday (March 21, 2022).

Local price adjustments follows the international crude oil market trend. 

11 weeks of fuel price increases

On March 15, the government had asked consumers to "brace" for even bigger fuel price increases as diesel rates jumped by Php13.15 ($0.25) per litre, by Php7.10 ($0.14) per litre for gasoline and Php10.50 ($0.20) per litre for kerosene.

DOE data show diesel was between Php71 to Php79.72 per litre in Manila, while petrol (gasoline) was bewteen Php74 to 81.90 per litre as of March 15, 2022.

Concerns over crude oil continuing supply risks keep fuel prices at five-year highs.

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

Appeal to oil companies

Last week, 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 March 15 increase in pump prices was the biggest so far this year.  Also this month, cooking oil (LPG) prices have gone up by PhpP7.95 a kilo. The government provides fuel subsidies to public transportation drivers and operators, farmers and fishermen.

Certain groups and politican have also renewed calls for the suspension of the excise on fuel products to cushion the impact of the price increases.