UAE cuts petrol prices for March, but raises diesel

It is difficult to give an exact reason as to why diesel prices have increased, as the government has yet to provide specifics about its pricing calculations.

Motorists will pay less for petrol for the seventh straight month, but diesel users will have to shell out a bit more.

The pricing details released yesterday by the Ministry of Energy for March show Super 98 dropping nearly 7 per cent compared with February to Dh1.47 per litre. Special 95 is cheaper by 7.4 per cent at Dh1.36 and E Plus 91 will save motorists close to 8 per cent on their fuel bills at Dh1.29 per litre.

“The new fuel prices for March were set in accordance with the average gasoline and diesel prices worldwide during February with the addition of the operational costs per litre,” said Matar Al Neyadi, under-secretary at the Ministry of Energy.

And while that is good news for gas guzzlers, diesel will have a slight increase of 2 per cent to Dh1.40 from last month’s Dh1.37 per litre.

It is difficult to give an exact reason as to why diesel prices have increased, as the government has yet to provide specifics about its pricing calculations.

Typically, consumption increases with lower prices but the ministry reminded UAE residents to rationalise consumption to “preserve the country’s natural resources and to contribute to the government’s efforts to reduce emissions”.

The US-based energy information administration forecasts worldwide consumption of petroleum to grow by 1.4 million barrels per day this year.

Fuel prices have dropped since the UAE announced that it would liberalise the pricing of fuel beginning in August. This led to many regional oil-rich countries re-evaluating subsidies as government budgets were squeezed by slumping oil prices. For more than 18 months, the price of global benchmark Brent crude has fallen more than 70 per cent to about US$30 per barrel from highs of $110.

Although low oil prices have driven fuel prices down, transportation costs continued to rise last year.

Transport costs rose 2 per cent year on year in December, the last month for which data is available, according to the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority. The country’s inflation hit 4 per cent for that same time span. This was mainly the result of an 8.3 per cent rise in housing costs last year, which make up just under 40 per cent of the inflation basket.

lgraves@thenational.ae

abouyamourn@thenational.ae

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