Drivers despondent at fuel-price hike

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

No rush for gas at this NP gas station on Wrightson Road, Port of Spain on Friday. Gas prices will increase from April 19. Photo by Angelo Marcelle

Drivers at one gas station in Port of Spain said the rise in fuel prices has greatly increased their spending at the pumps.

They said the government should have found ways to ease the burden on citizens rather than imposing this measure.

On April 8, Finance Minister Colm Imbert announced a partial increase in fuel prices to take effect on Tuesday. He said the adjustments were being made on the basis of factors such as the effect of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on international oil prices.

The prices of premium gasoline and super gasoline were adjusted by $1 per litre to $6.75 and $5.97 per litre respectively, while the price of diesel rose by 50 cents per litre to $3.91 per litre.

Taxi driver “Mauby” said the price increases were affecting him greatly, as he can now earn less money from each time he puts gas in the tank.

“I used to fill my car for $40 and get 7.2 litres before, which would bring in $200, whereas now $40 is 6.7 litres, which brings in about $150 before I have to put in $40 again. They raised the fare by $1, but it makes no sense, because the money just going back in gas.”

He said he hoped people would unite and do something about the gas prices, but didn’t think it would happen because people have to survive.

Self-employed entrepreneur Rondell Lancaster said he thought the hike in the fuel price was ridiculous, and wasn’t sure why the government had implemented the measure.

“I know in the world there is a crisis going on, but they could have done something better for the people below them. Where did the funds that the US gave us for the pandemic go? Where did all those billions of dollars go?

“They raised electricity and water too, but I’m praying for these politicians’ hearts to be softened.”

He said because he was self-employed, he worked at different places depending on where he could get work.

“It’s not every day I get a job, so I have to be driving every day looking for something, it’s really hard, so you can see where my gas is taking a toll on me.

“I live in St Ann’s, so if I have to go San Fernando or Arima, that is a problem. It’s going to take a toll on me. I use premium and every day I have to be putting $200-300 in my tank. Then I have to drop off and pick up my wife and children from work and school respectively.”

Another driver said they had to have at least $100 to fill the tank of their Honda Civic with super gasoline, which would last approximately three days.

“My pay is the same, and now I have to cater for paying more to put gas in my car.”

Another driver said normally topping up her tank with diesel would cost $100, and this had now increased to $120.

Driver Janna said filling up her tank now cost her considerably more.

She said the government was strategic in its implementation of the price hike.

“I filled up this morning and it got me to $230, and normally it would be $190, so it’s considerably more.

“I think now is not the best time. I think the government was very strategic in using the day that children return to school so they could maximise on the additional returns.

“I’m not in support of it, and if there was an opportunity to go out and protest, I would.”

Several protests against the rise in fuel prices took place on Tuesday, led by the opposition UNC.