Increase in the Cost of Premium Gas

Gas StationEDITOR: The dismantling of the fuel subsidy has begun, as was predicted by the Food and Fuel Forum, which for the past couple of weeks has been distributing a bulletin linking the dismantling to the upcoming signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

The 25% increase in the price of premium gasoline has been presented by the Minister of Finance as an imposition on those who can bear it, insinuating that it is the privileged in society who use premium gasoline and that it will have no effect on transportation costs. This is gross deception, because automobile technology demands the use of premium and it is disingenuous (a big word for deceitful) to say that once diesel has not (yet) been raised transport costs will not increase.

What may result is that taxis as an integral part of the transport system may become a thing of the past and the extra-legal PH cars, another integral part of the transport system in many areas, will raise their fares to compensate for the increase in premium gas and the anarchy on the roads will escalate. The provision of more PTSC buses, while laudable does not make for a comprehensive transportation system.

After all is said and done, the gas subsidy is being dismantled. Is diesel next? If so, then the cost of living will continue to shoot up all around. With no focus on fighting inflation and the continuation of its non-policy on agriculture and food security, the government is setting the stage for a nightmare scenario where the struggle for economic survival will consume working people and the poor. In such a situation working people and the poor will move to protect themselves. These circumstances will intensify the conditions leading to general strikes, mass rebellion and insurrection.

Gerry Kangalee

9 Responses to “Increase in the Cost of Premium Gas”

  • Ok….this government has to be joking….recently didnt the government talk about using premium gasoline as a method of being environmentaly friendly? Now, they come back and say that taxi drivers, use super and continue to…..Now i have recently joined the travelling public, and have obviously realised that the majority of taxi cars use premium gasoline as their fuel….hmmm…one would say that all those ministers, who has transport allowances and non tax on vehicles, never travelled before in their life, and realise that most vehicles being designed by most car companies require a certain octane in the structure of the gasoline to provide the best performance of the vehicle…The Honarable Minister of Finance is saying that advertisements are going to be place ( tax payers money) to educate citizens, on the difference of super and premium gasoline….All i can do now is just wonder if these ministers would put super in their hundred thousand dollar vehicles….or yeah….dont think so….they could afford PREMIUM all the way….

  • Good point Dookhran! It clearly shows the nature of the system we have in place in T&T. Anyone who read the budget, especially that ridiculous part about taxi drivers and poor people not needing premium, should be totally disgusted and awaken to the fact that the country has been and continues to be skillfully divided into two classes. “Those who can afford products and food” and “those who cannot”.

    There is no reason for a hike in petrol in T&T, especially since right next door, Venezuelan gas has remained steady at 12 CENTS A GALLON! Yes i said 12 CENTS A GALLON!

    That extra dollar will go directly into the pockets of the ministers as they emulate their USA masters. Manning him self being directly involved in “Oil affairs” given his back ground as a geologist and as a former oil field worker, and even though he does not have the same structural abilities to exploit the people in the manner he would like e.g (the established Bush family “interest” in oil companies). His government does have enought inside knowlege to pull the wool over the head’s of the people of T&T.

    That as it is. We must understand that this is a problem that will continue to plague us as long as we have the immoral British westminster system in place in T&T.

    A system that makes British Petroleum (BP) “the country’s largest hydrocarbon producer, accounting for more than 67% of national production of oil and gas”. and “exploration and production licences covering 904,000 acres” in T&T.

    After this sort of sell out, the government obviously will turn to the people to exploit the remaining dregs of oil left for T&T. Thus the unjustified $1.00 increase and the ridiculous excuse given by Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira.

    We must also understand that “any” opposition party’s rebuttal of such a criminal budget will easily appear to represent the true voice of the people as in the case of the UNC and COP, but do not be fooled, they represent the same multi party, “economic hitmen” politics, to quote the deputy leader of the opposition Kamla Persad-Bissessar. That sell’s out the nations resources to the multinationals of the USA, Britain and to a lesser degree Germany.

    What we have to start doing is to refuse to give credence to one party, while denouncing the other. It’s is a trap that they have set for us as a nation!
    This trap was set by making sure that we were left with the worst system of government known to mankind by the British. A multi party system that is responsible for “DIVIDE AND RULE” a system that has mastered the art of cutting up nations Like India and Africa creating the problems we have today like Pakistan and Somalia.

    We have to start to see our selves through our “own” eyes. Not through the lenses of Britain and America. We need new laws that will represent “all” the nationals of T&T and not just the rich. But a re-writing of the constitution by the PNM or UNC/COP will not do. Let’s be clear!

    Are we not men equal to the British and Americans? capable of devising laws of which to govern the people of T&T?
    Laws which can be better that those outdated divisive one’s created behind the backs of the people inside the corrupt walls of parliament.

    Why do we need the British courts to be the last word on justice in T&T in 2008?

    Why replace the British system with the failed American model? which is what the government and opposition will be setting out to do if they have their way?

    Change is on the way in T&T for sure, because the people will not continue to be fooled by multi party politics, which they instinctively know does not have their interest at heart, at all.

    But we have to guard against the wolves who will try to sell a new constitution to the people, Just like the foxes in America are trying to win a loosing battle by selling Obama as their savior. The goal of both the wolves and foxes are to impede the revolution of the people that is clearly on the way.

    One T&T.
    One Caribbean.

  • Super vs premium gas
    Having read all the garbage with regards to the use of unleaded super 92 octane gasoline in the modern day fuel injected Engines I feel compelled to enlighten folks about the use of unleaded super and unleaded premium Gas.

    Super unleaded a viable alternative to premium gas
    The best way to economise on fuel is to buy the cheapest grade of gasoline that your vehicle can use without endangering its engine. One way to reduce what you spend at the pump is to use super unleaded, instead of premium-in other words, don’t use premium if you don’t have to.

    Clueless about public transportation
    The Minister of Finance made what I consider to be an amazing pronouncement in her budget statement. She said the Government believed that public transportation was “now reliable and efficient.” It was in the light of this that the Government made the decisions to increase motor vehicle tax on the importation of private motor vehicles and raise the price of premium gas.

  • In an attempt to buttress the government’s argument that the rise in the cost of premium gasoline would not affect most commuters, NP now has an ad running advising people to check their vehicle manuals to find out the right octane levels for their vehicles. NP has explained that most taxis in Trinidad and Tobago should be using Super gasoline. Octane standards in T&T are similar to that of the British, so Super gasoline has an octane rating of 92 while Premium gasoline has an octane rating of 95. NP is now showing that many people may have been using Premium gasoline when their cars were made to work with Super. Of course, many car owners are being blamed, and rightly so, for using Premium gasoline while being ignorant that it was not giving them additional benefits. They were simply wasting funds.

    What many people forget is that NP gas station operators were the ones that initially told drivers that using Premium gasoline would make their cars demonstrate better overall performance. I can clearly remember gas station operators suggesting this on several occasions. All along NP knew people were wasting funds and they encouraged it to fill their coffers. Now NP is explaining how gas should be used to support the government’s statement about how there is no need for an increase in taxi fares.

    The reasons the government gave for this gas increase rings hollow:

    Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira said yesterday there is now an average of one car for every two people in this country, as she defended the new $4 per litre price for premium gasoline that was included in the 2008/2009 Budget.

    Saying that the new price, which is with immediate effect, is targeting high-end vehicle owners “who could afford it”, Nunez-Tesheira said it is an ideal way of reducing traffic congestion and road rage…

    “You have to do a balancing act. You have to look at the traffic congestion, the loss of productivity, the road rage way and then you do some complimentary things for the middle class.”

    She also said the increase in the Motor Vehicle Tax on the importation of private motor vehicles is not meant to be a clampdown on the foreign used car industry, as she maintained it was targeting traffic congestion and road rage “in the context of the liberties as a market economy”.

    Minister Nunez-Tesheira made the claim that the increase in the price of Premium gasoline and newly imported vehicles would reduce road rage and traffic jams, which is a ridiculous position to take. That statement hinges on the premise that the increase in Premium gas would cause people to drive less and, as such, free up the roads. Remember this is also based on the government’s idea that the increase in the price for Premium gas is targeting high-end vehicle owners “who could afford it”. But if they were really targeting the wealthy then why would the wealthy not be able to afford the increase and drive as they did before the increase? If they believe the cost of gas is related to how much people drive, then, to get many people to drive less, they would have to target poorer vehicle owners and not just wealthy folks. Therefore, the Premium gas increase could not be about targeting the wealthy to reduce road rage and traffic congestion. The increase would only translate into less driving if most people who drive do so leisurely and are prepared to give up that leisure or are prepared to use public transport. There are not enough wealthy people in Trinidad and Tobago that can lessen traffic congestion if they drive less. Also, that measure really only penalizes people (not just wealthy folks) for buying vehicles that use Premium gas. When people bought high end vehicles they paid a hefty sum in purchase tax and vat and now they have to pay considerably more for gas.

    If the government wanted to increase the cost of gas and people had no problem with that, then fine, but they should not penalize some folks for buying cars that run on Premium gasoline.

    Increasing the purchase tax on new cars could inadvertently cause some people to keep their older cars, which are less environmentally friendly, for a longer time. There would not be fewer cars on the road as a result of this increase. Instead there could be less old cars leaving the road.

    Also, apart from paying so much for cars, we do not have a state body that forces manufactures to recall defective cars at the rate like what exists in the U.S. Trinbagonians are paying much more for vehicles but when many defects are recognized in the U.S. and car manufactures are made to fix the defects over there at no cost to consumers, Trinbagonians have to pay to fix these defects. Case in point are defects found in the gas tanks of some models of Audi and Volkswagen cars in the U.S. where the manufacturers had to recall those vehicles (some as old as seven years) in June this year and repair them at no cost to the consumers. They were also reimbursing consumers who previously paid to have their leaking gas tanks fixed. There was no recall in Trinidad and Tobago so locals here have been paying to fix the same defective gas tanks. (I am currently passing information on this to consumer affairs).

    About being competitive: Trinbagonians pay 2 to 3 times what Americans and Europeans pay for vehicles. Trinbagonians are paying more than folks in the U.S. for comparable size homes. Trinbagonians pay considerably more for internet services. With such a disparity in living and services costs, Trinbagonians are expected to be competitive in producing goods and services for export. This means in order to be competitive, Trinidad and Tobago manufacturers have to pay employees considerably less than similar employees elsewhere. This practice keeps us tied to the practice of Slavery and Indentureship that used our people for cheap labour. All of this is happening on the backdrop of T&T being an oil exporting country while many of the major international manufacturers and exporters are importers of oil.

    While there are more vehicles on the road than years gone by and this translates into an increase in the use of gasoline and therefore the gas subsidy, people have only been told that the gas subsidy is large (in excess of two billion dollars annually) and they should be prepared to pay more for gas. What they are not saying is that the rise in the cost of gas internationally is tied to an increased price for oil from which we (the state) get an increased earning. So while the subsidy is up, T&T’s earning from oil is also significantly up.

    The government has now created another divisive ethnic group, and that is people who drive cars that use Premium gas. This is not about targeting the rich at all. This is just a poorly thought out increase. Taxis that use Premium gas are now saddled with a significant increase in the cost of gas which would make them way less competitive. Is this increase really targeting the rich?

  • What most of the whiners here don’t realise is that the country as a whole “pays” for the subsidised gasoline. Trinidad forfeits money it could get from oil companies to provide fuel at a lower price than international price for it’s citizens.
    Because of this artificial price people choose to do things they would never do if they had to pay the real price of gasoline such as buying vehicles they could not have afforded to keep or driving one person to one vehicle instead of car pooling. At the end of the day money keeps slipping away.
    The subsidies are left over from the “oil money days” when money was no problem. If we want to live like that again until oil finally runs out I’m sure it can be arranged

  • Gerry. Money was and still is a problem in T&T and what you described as an “artificial price” is price setting as a result of sell out deals with Respol, BP, British Gas etc who controls oil/gas in T&T.

    What would you say about Venezuelans paying 12 cents a gallon “every year” for gas. Is this price artificial?
    All the government has to do is to “fully” control its oil and gas by giving a small percentage to it’s “partners” and it could give the people gas at 1 dollar TT per gallon if it really wanted to do so my friend.

    The only thing thats “artificial” is the bubble that the government and opposition parties are living in, and that is destined to burst in the near future.

  • .12 cents a gallon, is that is that US, TT, VEB (old currency) or VEF (new currency). Because by my calculations Venezuelans are paying more than any country in North or South America for gas.

    .12TT = $42.29 VEB
    .12US = $258.00 VEB
    .12VEF = $120.00 VEB
    There is runaway inflation in Venezuela and all Chavez did was have the central bank create new money where $1000.00 VEB (old) now equals $1.00 VEF (new). The problem was never solved, just a “slight of hand” by the central bank and presto no more inflation. I predict in 5 years the central bank will change the money again where $1000.00 VEF will equal $1.00 some new currency the bank makes up.

    As for the Premium/Super debate; It’s what? A 1 octane point differance, 94 octane versus 93 octane.(I might be wrong here). Most cars, (Japanese, American, and European), are built for the American market,the largest in the world, and American law states that automobiles should be able to run on regular unleaded gasoline which is 87 octane. The exception are high end cars, BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, these need premium. All these Japanese cars I see on the roads of Trinidad are mostly used American cars that only need 87 octane. An option not given to the people. Thier choices are Super or Premium, meaning more money for the oil companies. if the people of Trinidad was given that choice they would probably pay $1.50 TT per litre for regular unleaded.

  • Here are the global statistics. Since posted most of the prices have changed, and i am sure prices were adjusted again given the current crisis in the “global” economy. But i can assure you that one thing has not, and that is, Venezuela having the worlds cheapest gas.

    Note: People do not care about comparing global prices when they are hungry, they are more concerned that “their” price of goods and services meeting their needs. Basic economics, A dollar is a dollar.

    Nation City Price in USD Regular/Gallon

    Netherlands Amsterdam $6.48
    Norway Oslo $6.27
    Italy Milan $5.96
    Denmark Copenhagen $5.93
    Belgium Brussels $5.91
    Sweden Stockholm $5.80
    United Kingdom London $5.79
    Germany Frankfurt $5.57
    France Paris $5.54
    Portugal Lisbon $5.35
    Hungary Budapest $4.94
    Luxembourg $4.82
    Croatia Zagreb $4.81
    Ireland Dublin $4.78
    Switzerland Geneva $4.74
    Spain Madrid $4.55
    Japan Tokyo $4.24
    Czech Republic Prague $4.19
    Romania Bucharest $4.09
    Andorra $4.08
    Estonia Tallinn $3.62
    Bulgaria Sofia $3.52
    Brazil Brasilia $3.12
    Cuba Havana $3.03
    Taiwan Taipei $2.84
    Lebanon Beirut $2.63
    South Africa Johannesburg $2.62
    Nicaragua Managua $2.61
    Trinidad & Tobago Port Of Spain $2.40 !!!!
    Panama Panama City $2.19
    Russia Moscow $2.10
    Puerto Rico San Juan $1.74
    Saudi Arabia Riyadh $0.91
    Kuwait Kuwait City $0.78
    Egypt Cairo $0.65
    Nigeria Lagos $0.38
    Venezuela Caracas $0.12!!!!

    Here is a quote from Business Week, May 2008

    “This is crazy but I’m not complaining,” says Morales. “Gasoline here is cheaper than water.”

    He’s not exaggerating. Gasoline prices in Venezuela are the cheapest in the world—1/15 the price of a liter of bottled water, and 1/25 the price of a liter of milk. Since 1998, Venezuela has kept the price of gas fixed at 0.097 strong bolivars a liter, or about U.S. 3¢ (lower octane is 0.070 strong bolivars). That means that consumers pay about 12¢ a gallon, or 1/33 of what their U.S. counterparts pay.

    “Because by my calculations Venezuelans are paying more than any country in North or South America for gas”.

    Apparently neither Business weeks nor that compañero from Venezuela seem to agree with you on that my friend!

  • the octane ratings in japan is higher than tne US. cars are detuned for the US markets. we import used cars from asia that requires a higher octane.

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