Fuel prices have gone up for the second time in a week, as the global oil and gas prices have risen stoked by Russia`s attack on Ukraine late last month.
The United States and European Union have responded by imposing sanctions against Moscow for what they call an “act of aggression” and the blockade against the third-largest petroleum exporter has triggered a global fuel price hike.
Russia exports almost 5 million barrels a day of crude oil, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and last year the value of its crude oil exports amounted to over US$110.1 billion in 2021.
The U.S and its allies have also kicked out Russia from global payment systems, chief among them, the SWIFT international payments network. As a result of the sanctions, petroleum suppliers have now been cut off from Russian crude oil and are forced to turn to other Oil and Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which comes with a higher cost.
In Zimbabwe, ZERA has raised fuel prices on the pump two times in one week, raising concern from motorists who are feeling the pinch.
According to ZERA, the fuel price hike has been necessitated by “international crude oil prices which continuously went up following tensions in Eastern Europe.”
Last Friday, the energy and power regulator announced that fuel prices per litre had risen by a margin of 70 cents in U.S dollar. The prices went up from $1.44 to 1.51 per litre for both petrol and diesel, while in the Zimbabwean dollar the petrol price rose from about $168 to some $196 per litre, with diesel also going up by the same margin per litre.
In the second and latest fuel price adjustment, ZERA announced in a statement on Wednesday that a litre of petrol now costs $1.67, up from $1.51 while a litre of diesel now costs $1.68. In the local dollar, the petrol price per litre rose to ZW$216.78 and for diesel, it jumped to ZW$218.01.
“Prices have been set in accordance with the increasing oil prices on the international market, which the authority is monitoring,” read the statement from ZERA.
Following the fuel price hikes, motorists have made an outcry saying they are feeling the pinch of buying the commodity. Some Gweru told 98.4FM News that they are no longer realising any meaningful profits due to the high fuel costs.
One motorist said: “The (fuel) price increase is very painful because we would have liked it to be around US$1.15 or US$1.20. At least that way it would be viable for us.”
Another motorist said because of the increase in fuel prices he was considering using public transport on some days to minimise costs incurred buying fuel.
“The price of diesel is now scary for me. As a kombi operator it means at the current fares, we charge we are just transporting people for free. This is absurd!” one public transport operator said.
Another commuter transport operator said they were now considering increasing their fares in light of the new fuel cost.
The fuel price increases have raised fears of a fresh wave of basic commodity price hikes as businesses and industry react to the increased production costs.
Gas prices have also risen just over US$2 per kilogram.