Various Philippine oil companies have announced the first fuel price rollbacks of 2022. The rollbacks are set to go into effect on Tuesday morning, March 22. It’s set to be the first time pump prices decrease after 11 straight weeks of weekly price hikes.
In separate advisories, Caltex, Cleanfuel, Petro Gazz, Pilipinas Shell, Seaoil, Total, and Unioil all announced rollbacks of P5.45 for gasoline and P11.45 for diesel by 6 AM on Tuesday. Caltex, Seaoil, Shell, and Unioil will also cut kerosene prices by P8.55 per liter on the same day.
Despite the welcome price drops, they are not enough to offset the exorbitant price hikes seen for the past 11 weeks. Data from the Department of Energy (DOE) indicates that as of March 15, the year has seen gasoline prices go up by P20.35 per liter and diesel by P30.65 per liter. Kerosene has also risen by P24.90 in 2022.
It’s not clear if the coming rollbacks will continue into the year, as global oil prices continue to be volatile amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in eastern Europe. As of press time, the price of oil is hovering at around $108 USD per barrel. Getting that figure below the century mark could go a long way towards normalizing fuel prices at the pump.
In the meantime, the Philippine government has been exploring emergency measures to mitigate the effects of high gas prices. President Duterte is set to decide today, March 21, on whether to implement a four-day workweek system. Under that plan, workers would go to work for four days each week, with hours going up from eight to ten each workday.
There are also plans to encourage work from home (WFH) setups among the country’s largest companies. A possible suspension of the excise tax on fuel has been thumbed down by the economic sector, however, as they say, it could deprive the lower economic brackets of getting essential services and benefits. In light of that, the government is working on getting fuel subsidies to public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers as soon as next month.