Gas prices soar

Gasoline prices in Grand Cayman are bypassing $4.50, with some soaring as high as $4.73 per imperial gallon.

Just over two months ago, at the end of April, gas prices in Grand Cayman hovered between $3.95 and $4.15 per imperial gallon for full serve gasoline.

Now prices vary from $4.36 to $4.73 for full serve gas.

By the end of April, Esso Ltd. had put its wholesale prices up three times this year. Super had increased by 28 cents, regular by 27 cents and diesel by eight cents.

It is understood that from May up to yesterday, Esso has increased wholesale prices a further 27 cents for gasoline and 19 cents for diesel.

Chevron (Texaco) Inc. has also increased its wholesale prices a number of times this year.

Local representatives from Chevron Caribbean Inc. and Esso Ltd. could not be contacted for comment by press time.

Supervisor at David’s Esso, Shedden Road, Athelston Watts commented that customers are concerned as to what is happening with gas prices and when and if price hikes will stop.

‘We tell them that we hope they will decrease because we are here to please the customer and offer them the best possible price.’

Both Chevron (Texaco) Inc. and Esso Ltd. sell wholesale to the local dealers who are then free to add their own mark-up.

Examples of full serve prices at local gas stations include: David’s Esso, up to $4.51 (up 38 cents since April); Texaco, Shedden Road, up to $4.56 (up 50 cents since April); Esso’s On the Run at Red Bay, up to $4.73; Texaco Starmart on Walkers Road, up to $4.45; Hell Esso in West Bay up to $4.55, and East End Texaco, $4.36.

Motorists are also concerned about the cost of diesel, said Mr. Watts, who explained that it has always been much cheaper than gasoline, but now it is creeping up to above the $4 mark and the gap between it and the price of gasoline is lessening.

Diesel at David’s Esso, Shedden Road costs $4.03; at Texaco, Shedden Road $4.12; at Esso’s On the Run, Red Bay $4.37; $4.06 at Texaco Starmart on Walkers Road; $3.49 at Hell Esso, West Bay.

Last year between September and November gas prices here spiked up to nearly $4.50 a gallon but then came down again below the $4 a gallon mark.

‘We pray that gas and diesel can soon be got for a cheaper cost price so we can make it cheaper for our consumers,’ Mr. Watts said.

However, when contacted recently for a related story, Country Manager for Esso Ltd., Alan Neesome gave some of the reasons for the hike in diesel costs.

New environmental regulations for Europe and the USA are bringing in low sulphur diesel, which is reportedly more costly to produce. He also noted that Government duty in Cayman is 10 cent higher for diesel than gasoline (CI 60 cents a gallon versus CI50 cents a gallon).

In Cayman imperial gallons are dispensed. This is 1.2 of a regular gallon.

With regard to the rising cost of gasoline, Mr. Neesome pointed out that one of many reasons is that crude oil is going up because of increased world demand and crude oil makes up about 60 per cent of the cost of gasoline.