Gas prices in the Cayman Islands
have risen by as much as 30 cents recently.
According to the Petroleum
Inspectorate website’s 17 February update, high grade gasoline now ranges
between $3.99 and $4.18 per Imperial Gallon, while low grade gasoline was
priced from $3.89 to $4.08
Chief Petroleum Inspector Gary McTaggart
attributed the rise in price to an increase in the price of crude oil as result
of emerging markets.
“Traditionally we have seen gas
prices rise as demand increases in new markets such as India and China. Such
variables can have a radical effect on cost.”
Mr. McTaggart explained that wholesale
prices in the Cayman Islands are based on the cost of the fuel at the loading
port in the US.
He said a gasoline shipment usually arrives in Cayman
every three weeks, adding that as a result of this, any increases
in price would have a
three-week period before affecting consumers in the Cayman Islands.
“For instance, if there were a
scenario in which we loaded fuel and prices fell immediately after, that drop
would not be realised here,” he said.
recent increase in import duty fees by the Government does not apply to fuel,
so the price increases in Cayman only reflect higher prices for oil.
Mr. McTaggart pointed out that duty paid on a
gallon of gas is 50-cents, adding that freight and shipping had to also be
considered when assessing price. He cited these as reasons for the large disparity
in price between Cayman and America.
“The ships used to bring fuel are
chartered based on volume and can range from 8- to 15-cents per gallon for
transport. This also affects our prices” he commented.
According to Mr. McTaggart, 50
cents duty has been charged for years in the Cayman Islands and has saved government
from being in a “real mess” financially. He added that in countries where there
was no tax, it was not unusual to see high duty on gas and cited the US$1 paid
in Bermuda as an example.
He also forewarned that we could
expect to see prices grow even higher as summer approaches, due to more travel
in the United States and greater consumption of fuel.
The last time gas prices were over
$4 in the Cayman Islands was July of 2008, when prices peaked at $4.10 in the
United States, before crashing in early 2009. Gas prices topped $5 per imperial
gallon for the first time in Cayman in the summer of 2008