Saturday 17 November, 2018

External forces driving up gas prices, says Petrojam

A Total gas station in St Andrew with prices displayed on an advertising board. (PHOTO: Marlon Reid)

A Total gas station in St Andrew with prices displayed on an advertising board. (PHOTO: Marlon Reid)

Amid record high prices for gasoline and other petroleum products, the state-owned oil refinery Petrojam has sought to reassure Jamaicans that the increase is unrelated to matters in Jamaica.

In a news release Thursday, Petrojam insisted that the local prices are based on the prices for which the commodity is purchased on the international market, which are adjusted weekly.

“The Government has no control over fuel prices. Petrojam sets fuel prices which are set, based on international fuel prices,” General Manager of Petrojam, Winston Watson said.

The price of gasoline went up by $2.60 per litre on Thursday, among other price increases on petroleum products which Opposition Spokesman on Energy, Phillip Paulwell, described as “record-breaking”.

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However, Watson hit back at the claim, stating: “This week’s price increase is not the largest we have had.

“We had larger increases earlier this year and prices later trended down and remained relatively stable. So market forces and movements will cause a resultant moves in prices,” Watson said.

The Petrojam general manager attributed the movement in prices this week primarily to international political issues and what he said was the annual high peak summer travel season across the world.

Watson said world market conditions continue to determine the fuel prices in Jamaica.

“The movement in prices has nothing to do with any domestic issue affecting Petrojam. Jamaica does not produce oil, gas, petrol or its by products and therefore we rely on purchasing the product from overseas which leaves the country exposed to overseas market forces to determine prices locally,” said Watson.

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