As Fuel Prices Rise, what are we going to do?

The economic uncertainty caused by the Russian and Ukrainian conflict, disruption to global supply chain because of the pandemic, an under performing US economy, an of recent a possible ratcheting up of tension between China and the US linked to Taiwan among other negative factors continue to be a source of concern for small developing states like Barbados.

Recently the blogmaster was intrigued to read about a local campaign by a leading gas distributor promoting today (Tuesday 3 Aug 2022) as as an opportunity to earn 200 bonus points if more than x dollars was spent at the pump. While the marketing department of the large dealership is pulling out the stops to sell more gas, there is the report Barbados experienced a spike in import cost reported as $2.05 million dollars of which $634.3 million was for fuel for the first six months of the year. The fuel bill for 2021 was $685.8 million and for $506.6 for 2020. Although the comparative to 2020 and 2021 was influenced by less activity because of the pandemic, it does not change a scary reality that significant chunks of Barbados’ foreign reserves is being used to pay for fuel. In the first half of the year $813 million was earned from our main foreign exchange earner to give an idea of the significance.

Sourcing affordable fuel is the objective of any country because it strikes at the heart of maintaining a stable standard of living and economy. At the household level rising fuel will soak up discretionary funds. Of immediate concern to Barbados is that this translates to potential travelers to Barbados forced to make alternative plans. Barbados is a price taker, we produce precious little commodities of what we consume. The domestic economy needs fuel for transportation, EMERA generates mostly fossil based electricity, input for business etc. An increase in the price of fuel negatively affects cost of living. Although the government is expected to create a buffer, there is a limit to mitigants available.

Last month Minister of Commerce Kerri Symmonds implored Barbadians to appreciate the seriousness of the predicament Barbados find itself and to consider engaging in tactics to conserve. The reality is that the majority of Barbadians are not prepared to make adjustments, for example car pooling, accessing public transportation, businesses (including public sector) reverting to working from home during this difficult period to assist individuals. There are decisions we can make to ameliorate the effect of out of control fuel price, however, we appear to be in reactive mode.

We have a country struggling to get a public addicted to conspicuous consumption to conserve and there are the countervailing forces like gas dealerships encouraging consumers to purchase more fuel. We live in interesting times.

To coin a popular expression, challenging times create the opportunity for an inventive people to rise to the fore. Are we there yet?

136 thoughts on “As Fuel Prices Rise, what are we going to do?

  1. I like trhis
    ““So despite having a different price structure, many Barbadians therefore enjoy the advantage of a savings option by being able to exercise personal discretion in the amount of driving they do,” Symmonds said.”

    Translation: If wunna keep your buttts at home, the high gas prices would not affect you all.

  2. Barbadians are consumption driven
    Living in a global economy has taught barbadians that living a good life is just as important for them as those that are doing so
    Asking people to consume not going to work
    As of yet Barbadians are tightening belts to make ends meet
    Now with gas prices rising mobility by means of individual transportation not going suddenly comes to a halt barbadians way of life would not change
    Most importantly individual transportation is fast quick and easy for most
    The days of awaiting govt to shuttle people back and forth has not work and having air-condition buses not going change individual minds away from private transportation
    Moreover govt transportation is costly for a family of four on daily routes some in different locations
    Govt role is to be proactive not to be insulting or acting as big brother in the people lives
    How is it possible to
    Tell a family to slow down their driving habits when it is cheaper to use their own form of mobility than to rely on the cost of govt transport
    More often than not individuals mostly use their own transportation for daily household reponsibities like jobs and shopping
    It is what it is govt needs to get back to the drawing board and redraft a policy that can save barbadians high gas prices that affects many areas of household living

  3. How is it simplistic David?
    What should it be compared to? the price of lard oil?
    Or are you and the minister saying to shut up and trust their impeccable judgement?

    When you see MILLIONS of dollars passing through familiar hands, and you have PERSISTENT reports of indiscretions being reported by the Auditor General…. What can be the POSSIBLE basis for dismissing international comparisons of final price?

    What the JA minister should do, is to show how the prices (WHEN ADJUSTED FOR LOCAL ABOVE BOARD PECULIARITIES), compare with international BEST PRACTICE.

    You know of course that this is what the ISO standards pushed by Grenville do by default…..

    They shine a BRIGHT LIGHT on GRAFT and inefficiency.

    • @Bush Tea

      We have to examine social services we support others do not as one example?

      Isn’t there a reason Barbados has one of the highest per capita numbers in the region/world?

  4. Toronto

    En-Pro tells CityNews that prices are expected to fall 6 cent(s) at 12:01am on August 5, 2022 to an average of 167.9 cent(s)/litre at most GTA stations.

  5. Not only gas prices. It would have been helpful if the Minister gave a different way of looking at the price so that we could make a realistic comprison. Here is a simple but next approach … look at income and try to convert the price paid for gas as a percentage. I suspect that we stil may not do well with this approach.

    It shouls also be pointed out that when a problem in Barbados is mentioned and others point at different countries to make a comparison is also a saimple analysis. To be fair, we should not change the rules when it suits us.

    To a bread and butter man, what matters is what he pays out of his pocket. How does this affect my family? What do I have to cut back on and not hurt the health or welfare of my family. When you are in front of the shopkeeper green trumps calculus.

  6. Write 50 times
    It is high. It is low. Seven is more than six, no matter what calculations are employed.

  7. Crop Over was a massive success for BAJAN party goers and masqueraders. Not sure how many tourists were in Barbados but locals were partying likethere was no tomorrow.

    The videos are on You Tube.

  8. Isn’t there a reason Barbados has one of the highest per capita numbers in the region/world?
    The Auditor General keeps trying to tell us year after year, but Brass Bowls don’t listen.

  9. The difference between countries that have high gas prices is that many off these countries gas prices can bev offset by high unemployment liveable wage increases and govt having safety nets to help the most vulnerable
    Barbados has nothing to shield the people from high prices across the board outside long winded talking points and govt hand out baskets
    Govt starting point is by leading the way with a social and economic policy one of increasing wages commensurate to household daily living
    Helping the most vulnerable

  10. @ Bush Tea the predictor of doom and gloom.

    14 hospitals in Ontario curb services due to staff shortages

    n all, 14 hospitals in Ontario will be closing ER’s, beds, or ICU units this long weekend, due to a lack of staff, primarily nurses, to fill those shifts.

  11. Govt finds itself between a rock and hard place because it refused to find productive ways to stabilize the economy
    Govt idea of stability always came down to.political hattricks in one form or another
    Nothing sustainable
    Nothing equipped and ready to look at long term policies
    Cant understand the bajan mindset that have allowed givt to take them down a rose garden covered in weeds
    Hard to belive that between the years of 1960 and now govt cannot find a pathway for sustainable productivity
    Yet when one look back at a Barbados before one saw a nation bound for self empowerment having small business in home and out of home paving a way forward towards sustainable production
    The small businessman full of pride trying to lift themselves and country up
    What we see now are govt roadblocks asking the people to lift themselves up.even when the people have nothing to lift
    A house cannot be built from the top a safe and secure foundation is necessary
    Govt getting back to.the drawing board where the people were once the craftsmen and woman of this economy is not hard
    All it takes is a willingness to learn and determination to have

  12. @ Hants
    “Bush Tea the predictor of doom and gloom.”
    Bushie calls it as he see it Boss…
    If you are looking for fairy tales, then try the regular newspapers bout here.

  13. @ac
    What “we” need to do is to find those “sustainable productive” ventures?
    For years I volunteered at a community credit counselling service, the one thing which was common to most (there were unusual circumstances for some) was their ‘lifestyle’ was built on debt
    They wanted “a solution”. They wanted the debt to ‘go away’ or be reduced to something ‘they could manage’, preferably without lifestyle change.
    Similarly, Barbados has run continued annual deficits since circa 2005. Many of the ‘gains’ were made via debt. It is the proverbial house of cards.
    Debt itself aside, the cost of servicing that debt, eats into the money available for other things. So, little surprise, without change, the GoB must ‘ print money’ to be able to pay it’s bills.
    That is the expense side. The ‘other sustainable productive’ avenues refers to revenue.
    The challenge is the longer a person, or nation, survives on debt (and more debt), the more they justify their ‘lifestyle’ results from hard work and it is deserved.
    As input costs rise, the potential ‘sustainable productive’ avenues decrease. [I kan live pun dat little bit of money]
    Even the larger businesses, most do not have the employee skill set to venture out. That is why the island has lost so many businesses to “others”.
    So back to square one. WHAT are those “sustainable productive” ventures?
    This is the golden egg everybody wishes.

    • @NO

      The majority of Barbadians have become addicted to consumption behaviour. Any serious attempt to force behavioural change will see push back from many. We talk a good talk.

  14. A lifestyle built on DEBT…..GOES NOWHERE AND NEVER WILL…

  15. Vision calls for two ingredients to be present : a personal philosophy and a personal ideology.
    One does not have to be and really might never attain anything near perfection. But, they are guided by deep core beliefs. When such people become leaders, they tend to have a vision built on ideology and philosophy.
    They are seldom attracted to the trappings of office but they hold fast to ideas that define them.
    Leaders who believe in presentation and not content ; political public relations and not policy become one dimensional, often lacking the tools to inspire a country, especially in times of severe and prolonged crisis.
    It’s futile to expect good governance from one dimensional leadership. And it is even more futile to expect a populace to blindly follow such leadership for any great length of time.
    Eventually a whole lot of battles are won but the war is lost. It means that others lacking ideology and philosophy will replace them because they too want to win battles but have never experienced, taught or know how to win a war.
    In theses environments, petty intellectualism strives because the populace is looking to win battles not wars. They become engaged in futile little games that become their reality.
    In the meantime , the problems are never solved and the little battles continue to be won.
    The question remains: where is the leadership we need to win this war?
    And the other question: where is the ideology; where is the philosophy?

  16. “The question remains: where is the leadership we need to win this war?”

    LOST ALREADY….took too long to recognize the waging war….too busy with distractions and petty sleight of hand………and totally missed what passed…

    WURA-WAR-on-U …was when they should have paid attention…

  17. William….wasting time all these years will now return TO BITE…

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