Gas prices heading up

Cold winter in America a main reason

Gasoline prices are rising in the Cayman Islands, but it has nothing to do with the increase in duty on imported goods.

Part of the reason for the spike in gas prices is the higher demand in America caused by a bitter winter and the resulting increase in fuel consumption.

Chief Petroleum Officer Gary McTaggart said the effects are already being seen here in Cayman.

‘We have seen a small increase in Cayman and have reflected that on our website, which was updated recently,’ he said.

A gasoline shipment arrived in Cayman last week and usually does so every three weeks.

Any increases in price would therefore have a three-week period before it would start to affect consumers in the Cayman Islands.

The recent increase in import duty fees does not apply to fuel, so the increase only reflects higher prices for oil.

Esso Country Manager Alan Neesome said several things determined the cost of gas.

‘Many factors influence the price of gasoline including changes in the price of crude oil, government regulations and taxes, supply and demand and refining and transportation,’ he said, adding that Esso does not control the price of crude oil or the retail price of gasoline. Esso just pays the market price for fuel products.

According to Mr. Neesome, recent world trends have been for increased fuel prices and Cayman is affected by these world market forces as well as by local market forces.

Mr. McTaggart attributed the higher fuel costs to a frigid winter that required people to use more fuel to stay warm.

‘World demand, uncertainties in the supply because of bad weather, geopolitical instability and unforeseen operating problems all affect fuel pricing,’ he remarked.

Gas stations in Cayman such as the Savannah Texaco, Maedac Super Centre and Jose’s Esso, report that – for the most part, customers’ purchasing habits have remained the same, only weaning nominally in recent weeks as prices have increased by 10 to 11 cents.

Those interested in monitoring the price of gasoline at stations throughout the Cayman Islands can do so at the Petroleum Inspectorate’s website, which is accessible through the Planning Department’s website at www.planning.gov.ky.

‘The on-line facility did not have to be regularly updated because the price of gas had not changed for some time,’ said Mr. McTaggart, adding that the site had been updated last week.

As of 5 January, the website reported a fairly tight range of price gasoline at the non-marine stations on Grand Cayman, with low-grade gasoline ranging in price between $3.70 and $3.80 per Imperial gallon, and high-grade gasoline ranging between $3.80 and $3.90 per gallon. There was a larger price spread for diesel fuel, with the lowest price being $3.60 per gallon and the highest being $3.79 per gallon.

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