Fuel prices adjusted, but down this time

Fuel prices adjusted, but down this time

The two-centavo reduction is good till Tuesday, when prices will be set daily

Consumers will get the smallest of respites this weekend when gasoline and diesel prices drop two centavos per liter as the government moves ahead with liberalizing fuel prices.

However, a slight decrease will be better received than a repetition of the January 1 gasolinazo, when a price hike of 15%-20% represented a harsh blow, as the term gasolinazo implies. That move triggered nationwide protests that continued this week.

Starting today and effective until Monday, the average maximum price across the country of magna gasoline will be 15.97 pesos per liter, of premium gasoline 17.77 pesos and diesel 17.03.

The move was announced yesterday by the Finance Secretariat, which said that starting Tuesday fuel prices will be updated on a daily basis.

The government agency explained that the “financially responsible” gradual fluctuation of gasoline prices — in contrast to January’s whopper — is thanks to the austerity measures enacted by the federal government.

Fluctuating international oil prices and the peso-dollar exchange rate are other factors.

The process is part of the liberalization of fuel prices being overseen by the Finance Secretariat, which will “at all times seek to mitigate excessive fluctuations.” Prices will be set by the market starting at the end of March in a process that will be rolled out gradually throughout the country over the course of the year.

Updated oil prices will be posted every day on the Energy Regulatory Commission’s (CRE) website.

In an interview with news agency MVS, a Finance Secretariat spokesman explained that the barely noticeable drop in gasoline and diesel prices was the result of “the evolution of the exchange rate and international oil prices.”

Based on those two parameters, continued Miguel Messmacher Linartas, consumers can expect fuel prices to drop or increase accordingly.

The news was not well received by a Senator of the National Renovation Movement (Morena), who said the new adjustment to prices favors the federal administration’s interests.

Mario Delgado Carrillo said yesterday that the announcement made by the Finance Secretariat was a sham.

Gasoline prices should have dropped 91 centavos on February 4 and an additional 1.09 pesos on February 11, he claimed, because the federal government’s point of reference for determining fuel prices is Texas prices, which have dropped along with the value of the dollar in relation to the peso this month.

The Senator called the two-centavo drop “crumbs” for the people. What the federal administration should have done, he continued, was stop hitting people with measures geared toward giving the Finance Secretariat a more revenue.

Delgado concluded by questioning the federal administration’s methodology.

“The fact is that they don’t respect it. They make an announcement on December 27 only to change it on February 10. Today, that methodology is once again modified.”

“Without a doubt, on upcoming occasions they will keep playing, a few centavos up or down, but the blow of the January gasolinazo remains,” he said.