The San Pedro Sun

Fuel Prices go up for the third time this year; SIB reports the cost of living down

For the third time this year, gas prices have gone up in the country. On Tuesday, April 24th, via an erroneous press release from the Belize Bureau of Standards, they misstated the level of increase reported, however, a correction was released later showing the increase on the prices of regular gasoline and diesel.
Regular gasoline saw an increase of .39 cents, going up to $11.04 per gallon. Regular gasoline began the year at $10.18, making the overall increase of .86 cents in three months. While, diesel increased by .86 cents, going up to $10.49. Premium gasoline remained at $11.34 per gallon, however, it has seen a price increase of .32 cents since the start of the year. The price of kerosene did not rise in this latest spike, but it has suffered the highest price increase since the start of 2018, with close to a two dollar per gallon increase.
While many Belizeans are upset with the continued rise of taxes and fuel prices, the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) is reporting that cost of living (consumer price) for the first quarter of 2018 was actually down by 0.6 %. According to the SIB, for the month of March 2018, All-Items Consumer Price Index (CPI) stood at 104.5, a decrease from 105.1 in March 2017. The average Belizean household, therefore, experienced an overall drop of 0.6 % in the cost of regularly purchased goods and services. For the first three months of the year 2018, the country saw a year-to-date inflation rate of negative 0.1%, when compared to the same three-month period of last year. Also, transportation costs were down due to a reduction in the cost of international airfares, notwithstanding the increase in gas prices.
SIB further stated that regular fuel was up by 6 %, Premium was up by 7.6 % and Diesel was up by 9.6 % when compared to last year. However, prices within the ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ category went down by a minor 0.4%, due to a 0.5% decrease in the price of food. The data released by the SIB shows lower prices for mean products such as ground beef, pork chops, and pigtail when compared to the same month in 2017, as well as other food items such as onions, sweet peppers, and milk. In contrary, Belizeans had to contend with higher home rental prices, which increased by 0.2 % and higher prices for butane which went up by 10%. The average cost of a 100-pound cylinder of LPG rose from $96.13 dollars in March 2017 to $105.51 dollars in March of 2018.


For island residents, this increase in fuel prices only adds to the constraint in the cost of living as prices are always higher in San Pedro Town compared to the rest of the country. “Earlier this year we saw a decrease in regular gasoline, however, I knew that was not going to be for too long. This constant rise in fuel prices affects islanders as our prices are always higher than mainland due to being barged in,” said a concerned taxi driver of Ambergris Caye.
For more information, on the Belize Bureau of Standards, you can contact them at 822-0446 or via email bbs@btl.net