Gas prices reached a four-month low as of Monday, falling to an average of $4.76 per gallon, according to the latest data from the Utility Regulation and Competition Office (OfReg).
Gas prices in Cayman rose throughout the summer – peaking at $4.85 in July – and have been falling incrementally since then.
During that time, average diesel prices rose 3 cents from $4.55 in July to $4.58 as of Monday, according to the OfReg data.
While gas prices in Cayman have fallen by 9 cents since July, average prices have fallen much more drastically in the U.S. over that same period, from US$2.79 per gallon in mid-July to US$2.35 as of Monday. This drop has coincided with a drop in the price of oil from around US$71 per barrel in mid-July to US$50.78 as of Nov. 30.
At a Legislative Assembly Finance Committee meeting last month, Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller criticized OfReg’s stated policy of having competition set fuel prices. Mr. Miller said that despite the new gas station Refuel opening last year, the new competition has done little to lower prices. “In fact, the prices have gone up,” he said.
Duke Munroe, OfReg’s chief fuels inspector and fuel markets director, responded that the Refuel gas station has consistently had 20- to 30-cent lower average prices than its competitors. Mr. Munroe said Refuel’s lower prices are causing “unease” among its competitors.
He added that he expects the competition to cause further price decreases in the future, and that a “breaking point” could be when other entrants capture more market share.
Mr. Miller asked what OfReg was doing to attract more companies to the market, and Mr. Munroe said OfReg is seeking to lower barriers to entry. He added that OfReg is making sure that new applicants to the fuel markets are not connected to the incumbent players.