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Sep 25, 2017

Pain of New Gas Prices Settling In

Fuel prices have increased as many as four times in two months; twice in August and twice in September. The surprise increase sneaked on Friday sent premium prices rocketing at eleven dollars and ninety two cents. According to our calculations, government is raking in more than five dollars in GST and environmental taxes per gallon in premium; that’s almost forty-six percent of pump prices per gallon. On regular and diesel, government’s take is forty-two and forty-three percent, respectively. Consumers are feeling the pain where it hurts the most….in their pockets. News Five’s Duane Moody has the following report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Going into the Independence Day holiday, the Government of Belize through the Belize Bureau of Standards announced that fuel prices were to increase. This is for a fourth time in two months; bringing premium gasoline to a whopping eleven dollars and ninety-two cents.  It has taken consumers by surprize because just two days before, at midnight on September nineteenth, the cost of regular and diesel went up by ninety-two and thirty-seven cents, respectively, bringing the numbers to eleven dollars and thirteen cents for regular and nine dollars and sixty-three cents for diesel.

 

Joel Moguel

Joel Moguel, Resident

“My main concern is how much higher it gwen because ina di past month ih gone up like three times. For me, I have two vehicles weh I move at random. I have a pickup truck, a Chevy S10, weh dah six cylinder and that suck quite an amount of fuel when it have to move. I try noh move it if I noh have to. I recently get wah smaller car because of the same reason. Ih worrisome because dah noh everybody could afford it by dehn pocket. Fi me I notice I used to have an extra change ina my pocket, but it di reduce slowly.”

 

Fuel prices are at the highest it’s been in recent times. But an increase at the pumps affects the bottom line for many Belizeans, especially so since the high cost of living is already high and over forty percent of the population is poor. The public transportation sector, distributors of grocery products and even fishermen are feeling the pain.

 

Thomas Garcia

Thomas Garcia, Taxi Operator

“This go down and come up, go down, come up and we always have a factor on all things. I am not against the government. But what I am saying is that the things go up and down.”

 

Duane Moody

“So the taxi association and yourself…you are going to incur the loss?”

 

Thomas Garcia

“Well logic sir, it is the consumer that is going to incur all this wear and tear cause as soon as gas go up, we gotta raise too. So this is what is left to the consumers.”

 

Over at the bus terminal on East Collet Canal a string of taxi operators were visibly inactive. Garcia has been in the taxi business for over two decades. But he and his fellow operators are not getting any fares since residents are not taking taxis to their destination. According to Theodore Figueroa, their livelihood is under threat by the high prices.

 

Theodore Figueroa, Taxi Operator

“They have a saying that when America sneezes, we catch a cold and a lot of disaster has been happening in America. And the cash flow is not like that. If we increase the prices, people will not be able to afford it and we will be the ones sabotaging our own self. So yes, the gas price is high and we have to work at a loss so we have to plea with the government to please don’t take it any higher because we are the ones taking the licking out here. If we have the business, then we could afford the gas. I live all the way in Ladyville. Sometimes I barely make the gas money to o back home. I have to pinch and I have to stretch. Make I tell yo it ina Creole; “I woulda want eat wah steak, but I hafto eat wah three dallaz bird.”

 

Theodore Figueroa

Duane Moody

“Do basically you guys would just incur the loss?”

 

Theodore Figueroa

“That is a must because it is not there right now.”

 

Thomas Garcia

“This taxi fare right now is unbalanced. Why I say unbalance is because we are not charging the correct price. Let’s put it this way, these people come down on the bus, they want to go to the water taxi. You gotta remember that we charge seven dollars for a person from here to the water taxi. That’s just from here to the water taxi. Let’s say they want to go to the airstrip or Saint John’s College or West Landivar; that’s not seven dollars. That is like ten dollars up.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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