The price of regular, unleaded gasoline has dropped below $4 per gallon in the past few weeks at three of 21 gas stations operated on Grand Cayman by Sol Petroleum and Rubis.
The price at most other stations in George Town, Bodden Town and West Bay averaged between $4.20 and $4.27 per gallon, bringing the territory-wide average to its lowest point since the price began declining last October.
The average fuel price as of March 18 for regular, unleaded self-serve gasoline was $4.15, down about four cents since the beginning of the month. The Rubis stations at Shedden Road and Crewe Road (Jose’s) had the lowest price – $3.92 per gallon, followed by Maedac Rubis at $3.99 per gallon.
The highest price for regular, unleaded gasoline among Grand Cayman’s three largest districts was $4.27 per gallon of regular, unleaded full-service at Mostyn’s Esso (Sol) in Bodden Town and at the Seven Mile Beach Rubis station.
The outer districts and the Sister Islands maintained the highest prices for gasoline, but in Little Cayman, the price dipped this month from $6.49 to $5.74 per gallon.
In Cayman Brac, the price of regular, unleaded gas has held steady for several weeks at $5 per gallon.
In East End, the price for premium self-service gasoline was $4.47. In North Side, regular, full-service gas was $4.25.
Meanwhile, fuel prices in the U.S. have been rising steadily since last month, to an average of US$2.42 on Monday. A month ago, the average price was US$2.30 per gallon of regular, unleaded gas, up from a January low, on average, of US$2.05 per gallon.
Still, U.S. prices are down significantly from a year ago, when regular, unleaded gasoline averaged US$3.53 per gallon. The major decline started in June 2014.
Cayman Islands gas prices were slow to follow the U.S. and average Brent Crude Oil prices per barrel, which typically dictate the European market prices.
Since mid-October, the average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline on Grand Cayman has dropped from $5.59 to $4.15. On Cayman Brac, the price for the same gallon of gas has dropped from $5.75 to $5.
The two local fuel suppliers, Rubis and Sol Petroleum (operating as Esso), have explained that the lag in supplies reaching the Cayman Islands often causes pump prices to remain higher for a longer time than prices in the United States.
On Grand Cayman, the companies generally receive fuel shipments about every four weeks, and the fuel has often been loaded onto the supply ship in the U.S. weeks prior to arriving in the Cayman Islands. For the Sister Islands, that lag can be more pronounced, particularly given the relatively low volume of fuel sales recorded in Little Cayman.
Chief Petroleum Inspector Duke Munroe has said there will always be significant differences in retail fuel prices between the Cayman and U.S. markets simply because of supply issues, economics of scale and other market differences. Those differences are more pronounced in the much smaller retail markets of Cayman Brac, with a permanent population of about 2,000, and Little Cayman, with a full-time resident population of 170.