Fuel depot, longer discounts eyed to slash high oil prices

THE construction of a fuel depot in the South Road Properties in Cebu City may reduce fuel prices by up to P20 per liter, a disaster management official said Wednesday, June 22, 2022, amid the successive fuel price hikes in the country.Lawyer Gerardo Carillo, chairman of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said they had already met with fuel companies about the depot that may help motorists save money as oil prices are now just a few pesos away from reaching P100 per liter.Aside from the fuel depot, the Cebu City Government will also extend the validity of its fuel discount cards until December 2022.Carillo said one of the reasons fuel prices are high in Cebu is that there are only a few depots where oil companies can store their products.“This is one of the problems of the oil players. Maybe they could buy fuel at lower prices in bulk, but where would they store it? Cebu Island has only a few oil depots. They are relying on (the storage in) Subic,” said Carillo.He added that transporting the oil products from the Municipality of Subic in the province of Zambales to Cebu would add to the cost of the fuel products.Carillo said once the depot will be operational, fuel prices could go down to P70 per liter.From the start of the year to June 14, 2022, there has been a net increase of P28.70 per liter in the price of gasoline and P41.15 per liter for diesel. This means a near doubling of the price for diesel and an almost 50 percent hike for gas from the start of the year.The site for the depot has been identified.“It will take months to construct, although we’ve already discussed how to go about it. But the mechanics have to be ironed out. The design still has to be discussed with the Department of Energy,” he said.Carillo said public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers who received the fuel discount cards will be prioritized in the fuel depot.Discount cardsThe Cebu City Government will extend the validity of its fuel discount cards to December 2022 as it also mulls partnerships with more oil companies.Carillo said many motorists had requested the extension of the fuel discount program since the first batch of cards will expire on June 30.In April this year, the City partnered with Phoenix fuel company to launch the “Gasolina Mo, Sagot Ko” project where PUV drivers can avail of at least a P2 discount per liter.Carillo assured motorists that they will distribute new discount cards soon as more fuel companies had also expressed their intention to join the program.“The mayor called me to negotiate with the fuel companies to extend the program. We will be issuing another ID because other fuel companies will already be joining,” said Carillo.Carillo said that during the launching of the program, around 150,000 cards were printed but only 80,000 to 90,000 cards were distributed.The identified beneficiaries were drivers of PUVs, taxis, buses, tricycles and motorcycles for hire, he said.Carillo also said Mayor Michael Rama plans to include the PUV drivers in the list of beneficiaries who can receive the city’s economic stimulus grant.Improper calibrationMeanwhile, also on Thursday, three gasoline stations in Cebu City had their gas pumps temporarily locked after they were found to have failed to meet the standard calibration requirement in an inspection conducted by Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement (Probe) personnel led by Raquel Arce last Monday, June 20, 2022.In a press conference Thursday, June 23, Police Lt. Col. Wilbert B. Parilla of the Cebu City Police Office identified the gasoline stations found defective in their calibration as one along V. Rama Ave. with six improperly calibrated pumps, a station along N. Bacalso Ave., Barangay Pardo with five pumps, and a station on Sabellano St., Barangay Punta Princesa with three improperly calibrated pumps.Notice was already served to the gasoline stations that they could return to operation only when their gas pumps had passed the standard calibration. (IRT Jeanie Mea Pitor, CNU intern)