Fuel prices up anew

MANILA, Philippines -- Local oil firms churned out another fuel price hike Tuesday, increasing product prices by up to P0.70 a liter.

At past midnight, major oil firms Pilipinas Shell and Chevron Philippines (formerly Caltex) announced identical price increases on their respective petroleum products.

According to the two companies' advisories, their adjustments took effect at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Under the latest hike, the price of unleaded gasoline was raised by P0.60 a liter; regular gasoline by P0.70 a liter; kerosene by P0.40 a liter and diesel by P0.25 a liter.

Holy Tuesday's price hike was the fourth consecutive, sweeping increase on the part of the oil firms since the last week of March.

Petron Corp., the other remaining major oil firm, said through spokesperson Raffy Ledesma that it has yet to make an advisory for the week.

Shell, Petron, and Chevron comprise the so-called "Big Three" oil firms which account for over 70 percent of petroleum products in the local market.

Meanwhile, other oil firms, particularly the independent players, are expected to follow suit with a price hike later this week.

Bobby Kanapi, Shell spokesman, said the domestic hike was made to reflect rising costs in international products, particularly with ethanol and coconut methyl ester (CME). Both are known additives to fuel.

The hike turned out to be added "penitence" for consumers, who have been dealing with high pump prices all year. Figures showed that since January, unleaded gasoline prices have been raised 13 times; diesel, 11 times and kerosene, 14 times.

Fuel products in Metro Manila are now averaging as follows: unleaded, P57 a liter; diesel, P48 a liter; and kerosene, P56.

In comparison, the average pump prices at the beginning of the year were P48.50 a liter for unleaded; P38 a liter for diesel; and P46.50 a liter for kerosene.

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