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 comments

  • African Online Publishing Copyright ⓒ 2022. All Rights Reserved

    rah rah rah… people were actually offended and thought it went way beyond the vulgar….those are not my words, i just looked on and thought, so what’s new, ya CAHN GET NUH BETTA….., but ah know yall take that as a badge of honor..

    did you not hear Lawson of all people talking about “the trashy element”

    some people have at least a small percentage of decorum.

    you should be more concerned about what blog admin is saying about the type of economy marching its way toward you……..

    i got a hot date to eat some Jamaican food….let ya imagination run wild…

    salut…

    Like

  • @Enuff

    Why do you join with others to engage in froth? You can do better.

    Like

  • Salemite
    You just proved exactly what I said. 🤡

    Like

  • David
    Wnen it rains it pours. The villas and certain hotels should still do well, Hope for a cold, cold winter.

    Like

  • NorthernObserver

    @David
    1.75% is….still very low?
    The challenge is: 1% to 2% is a doubling. When they were crashing rates to 0.25% nary a peep.

    Like

  • Gas price high but

    Check You Tube

    Crop Over Central: Fete Chaser- The Last Lap

    Like

  • Symmonds defends the price of petrol

    By Maria Bradshaw mariabradshaw@nationnews.com
    Barbados now has the fourth most expensive gasoline price in the world.
    It made a huge leap from 11th last month to fourth on August 1, among over 150 countries.
    According to the website globalpetrolprices,
    one of the leading providers of data on the retail prices of motor fuel, electricity and natural gas, while the average price of gasoline was US$1.41 (BDS$2.82) per litre, Barbados’ is at US$2.338 or BDS$4.72 per litre.
    Hong Kong has the highest price at US$2.98 followed by Iceland (US$2.475) and the Central Africa Republic at US$2.343.
    The closest other Caribbean country is Cayman Islands which is ranked at No. 22 with a price of US$1.978, followed by The Bahamas at No. 36 with a price of US$1.843 and Jamaica No. 50 with US$1.705.
    Countries like the United Kingdom, which was 11th at US$2.24; Canada (US$1.559); and the United States at US$1.18, had much lower gasoline prices.
    Earlier this year, Barbados was around No.30 in the world but this started to quickly change following the drastic increase in oil prices, mainly due to the war in Ukraine. The last price increase locally was on July 3, when there was a whopping 31 cents jump at the pump.
    In reference to gasoline prices in Barbados from April 25 to August 1,
    globalpetrolprices
    noted: “The average value for Barbados during that period was BDS$4.48 with a minimum of BDS$4.13 on April 25, 2022, and a maximum of BDS$4.72 on July 4, 2022. For comparison, the average price of gasoline in the world for this period is BDS$4.10.”
    Differences
    The website pointed out that there were substantial differences in the prices among countries. “As a general rule, richer countries have higher prices, while poorer countries and the countries that produce and export oil have significantly
    lower prices.
    “The differences in prices across countries are due to the various taxes and subsidies for gasoline. All countries have access to the same petroleum prices of international markets but then decide to impose different taxes. As a result, the retail price of gasoline is different.”
    When contacted with this information, Minister of Energy Kerrie Symmonds pointed out that Government had put measures in place to shield Barbadians from the impact. He said such comparisons were pointless.
    “Simplistic comparisons between the price of fuel in Berlin, Bahrain, The Bahamas and Barbados are uninformed and pointless. Some states have capacity to import petroleum products, others do not. It would be unwise to expect that an energyimporting state could sell to consumers more cheaply than the energy exporters could.
    “Equally, some countries have internal measures that shield consumers from associated costs not reflected in the petroleum price. For example, the average Bajan consumer pays no road tax, while our neighbours in the wider Caribbean have to pay it.
    Savings
    “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.
    He stressed that Government had also done a lot more economically and socially to ease consumers.
    “Many governments like the Canadian and the USA governments have not opted to intervene at all either at the pump or in the wider food and beverages sector in order to shield consumers from surging prices. Their philosophy is that to chase rising prices is a race to economic death.
    “Some, on the other hand, have been very trifling with the assistance offered to consumers, so places like St Vincent have opted to intervene only by way of VAT (value added tax) adjustment at the petrol pump.
    “The Barbados Government has intervened to shield consumers both in terms
    of petrol products and in the cost of food and beverages and also in the cost of electricity in the home. Government is now also subsidising summer camps. I know of nowhere else on earth that this has happened. So I think we have a bit to be grateful for and might wish to focus on those wider considerations,” the minister added.

    Source: Nation

    Like

  • 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.

    Like

  • Comparing gas prices across countries is simplistic as the minister implies.

    Like

  • 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

    Like

  • 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.

    Like

  • @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?

    Like

  • 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.

    Like

  • $1.68CAD is $2.36 BBD

    Like

  • 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.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Typo Friday
    shoulds=should
    saimple=simple
    stil=still

    Like

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

    Like

  • 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.

    Like

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

    Like

  • 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

    Like

  • @ 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.

    Like

  • 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

    Like

  • @ 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.

    Like

  • African Online Publishing Copyright ⓒ 2022. All Rights Reserved

    Angela…..let’s see if they still ignore the Auditor General, the petition and CITIZEN’S CONCERNS.

    https://starcomnetwork.net/blog/2022/08/04/petition-demands-action-on-barbados-auditor-general-report/

    Like

  • NorthernObserver

    @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.

    Like

  • African Online Publishing Copyright ⓒ 2022. All Rights Reserved

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

    Like

  • @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.

    Like

  • William Skinner

    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?
    Peace.

    Like

  • William Skinner,

    True dat!

    Like

  • African Online Publishing Copyright ⓒ 2022. All Rights Reserved

    “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…

    Like

  • African Online Publishing Copyright ⓒ 2022. All Rights Reserved

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

    Like

  • Mia denies that Barbados is printing money.
    In today’s Aljazeera: “Argentina’s new economic minister promises to stop printing money
    Printing money fuels inflation which is now over 60 percent in Argentina and expected to reach 90 percent by year end.”

    https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2022/8/4/argentinas-new-economic-minister-promises-to-stop-printing-money

    Like

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