Brace for another oil price hike this week

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 11 2013 03:24 PM | Updated as of Feb 12 2013 02:19 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Motorists are in for another hike in fuel prices, the third straight increase in as many weeks.

Industry sources said gasoline and diesel are poised to increase by as much as P1.10 to P1.40/liter. In the last two weeks, gasoline prices rose by P1.95/liter while diesel prices went up by P0.60/liter.

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla says the economy of US and Europe are improving pushing demand up, leading to higher fuel prices.

According to Petilla, had the peso been weak, the actual price hike would have been bigger. "Kung may taas na piso, P2 sana yun, it helps na we have a strong currency," he said.

The Secretary says the only way to find out if oil companies are making a killing in profits is for those who protest to put up their own gas station.

During Monday's press briefing, Department of Energy director Zenaida Monsada also divulged that ethanol orders to be delivered in March are higher by 40centavos/liter.

The DOE had earlier scrapped a plan to suspend the biofuels law provision on the mandated 10-percent ethanol blend after several oil companies sounded off a tightening of supply of imported ethanol.

A large shipment arrived 2 weeks ago averting a shortage. But the DOE says ethanol supply remains tight. The country produces less than 20% of total ethanol supply while the rest is imported.

When asked what can the government do to help affected sectors, Petilla said the government is already doing away with subsidies. Rather the government is looking at indigenous sources of energy and promoting natural gas for vehicles and even pushing for electric vehicles like e-trike.