Gone are the days when the price of fuel, and any other commodity for that matter, was changed once in a blue moon. If the price rose it was insignificant. There were fewer vehicles. Now that almost everybody can afford a car, it’s becoming hectic. Statistics show that one in five Mauritians has a car. This means a lot of things; more traffic jams, more people on the roads, more energy consumption and more pollution. The costs, social and others, are becoming unsustainable.
People seem to be better off, which means they can pay more. Fuel price policy has changed since a couple of years. The price is reviewed every three months by what is called the Automatic Pricing Mechanism. The price adjusts according to the market, local and overseas.
The latest price review was done yesterday. The price of petrol and cooking gas remained unchanged while that of diesel rose by R 1.85 per liter. This reflects a bit the promise of the last review that the price of gas and perhaps petrol also would be kept stable until October.
Adjustments do not always reflect the world market tendency. This is what most people believe. That’s why there’s often a lot of outcry; both from consumers and retailers. Consumers complain of exorbitant increases while retailers are never satisfied with the profit margins. Last year when the price on the world market had gone down, here it rose significantly. The policy markers have always an explanation. They argued that they had to catch up with the shortfall arising from the non-increase during previous review exercises. It’s worth recalling that reviews were kept in abeyance due to electoral periods