By John McPhaul
Consumer Affairs (DACO by its Spanish acronym) Secretary Edan Rivera Rodríguez said over the weekend that the prices of regular gasoline had reached a historic rise to between $1.24 and $1.27 per liter.
According to daily price monitoring carried out by DACO, on Monday, May 9, the main gasoline reference market (Nymex) reported a price of $3.80 per gallon, which translated into pump prices in Puerto Rico of between $1.18 and $1.21 for regular gasoline. Then, midweek, the reference price dropped to $3.56, which took as much as six cents off the local pump price ($1.12-$1.17).
The outlook changed between Thursday and Friday. The business week closed at $3.96; that is, 40 cents ($0.40) more per gallon compared to the relief experienced last Wednesday. That increase would translate into pump prices in Puerto Rico of between $1.24 and $1.27 per liter for regular gasoline for those stations that refuel during the weekend, the DACO secretary said in a written statement.
Rivera Rodríguez noted that although at the local level the increases reported by importers go hand in hand with those reported by the reference markets, the change in pump prices should only be reflected in those stations that were replenished during the weekend.
“Our inspectors conduct a rigorous invoice verification exercise to ensure that each station they visit remains in compliance with the frozen margins,” the DACO chief said. “However, a quick check of the station’s refueling sign against the price charts we publish daily can provide consumers with a general idea as to whether or not the business may be in compliance.”
Rivera Rodríguez pointed out that, in consideration of the marked increase with which gasoline closed last Friday, on Saturday the DACO inspectors visited stations to ensure that there were no increases at the pump before resupply.
“In the framework of the war between Russia and Ukraine, no country in the world can, right now, control the volatility of the fuel market,” the official asserted. “Our commitment, as an agency, is to continue to be transparent in handling information; and, above all, to prevent any taking advantage of the armed conflict to speculate on prices.”