March 29, 2022 fuel price hike

Fresh off the first fuel price rollback of 2022, oil companies are preparing for another price hike on Tuesday morning, March 29, 2022. A forecast made by Unioil Petroleum Philippines this weekend indicated a possible price increase for the period of March 29 to April 4, 2022, with diesel possibly increasing by P8 to P8.30 per liter and gasoline by P2.90 to P3.10 per liter.

The actual price hike set for Tuesday is more than what Unioil predicted, with an increase in per-liter prices of gasoline by ₱3.40 and diesel by ₱8.65 beginning 6 AM. Cleanfuel, Petro Gazz, Seaoil, and Total have issued separate advisories confirming the price hike.

The successive oil price hikes have had debilitating effects on the economy, as citizens currently face record-high pump prices with no clear end in sight. Major contributors to the skyrocketing fuel costs include the conflict in eastern Europe and the threat of COVID-19.

The Philippine government has explored several measures to mitigate the effects of high fuel prices. Planned oil subsidies for public utility vehicles (PUV) drivers could start next month, with Quezon City already taking the lead by handing out gas vouchers for tricycle drivers. Other measures, including the promotion of work from home (WFH) setups and four-day workweeks, have failed to gain traction with the national government.

Many have called for the suspension or abolition of the excise tax on fuel. However, some economic groups have warned against the measure, citing a possible negative effect on the country's more marginalized sectors. The excise tax funds essential services and government benefits for the lower income brackets, and replacing the lost revenue could be a tall order at the moment. 

Despite that, it's clear that people are clamoring for relief from the government amid the continuous rise of pump prices. It's challenging to predict when gas prices could normalize, as that depends on many factors, including peace in Europe and the end of the pandemic. With gasoline and diesel likely going up again next week, motorists might have to tighten their belts for a while longer. 

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