Latest — 06 September 2017 — by Adele Ramos
Pump prices to spike soon due to Hurricane Harvey

Catastrophe sent US pump prices to 2-year high – how high will they go in Belize?

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Sept. 4, 2017–Hurricane Harvey’s shutdown of oil refineries in the Texas area—responsible for about 25% of all crude oil in the USA—has already sent pump prices up to the highest level in the USA in two years.

Fuel shortages caused by Harvey are also affecting Belize, as it does import a substantial quantity of refined fuel from Houston suppliers on a regular basis in addition to buying refined fuel from Venezuela under the Petrocaribe Accord, said a press release issued today by the Government of Belize.

The Ministry of Finance has given no indication what the extent of the increase will be, although reports in the US and Canada say that the increases there were in the region of 12%. There is a huge price differential due to added taxes here, between prices charged at gas stations in the US (where regular gas costs an average of US$2.64) and those in Belize (where the same product costs consumers in excess of US$5.00 a gallon).

Financial Secretary Joseph Waight told Amandala today that Belize is expecting to receive supplies from El Salvador by this weekend. Belize would be buying fuel (primarily diesel) from that Central American country’s stockpile, which will automatically mean higher prices (due to freight costs) than if Belize were to source the fuel from its traditional sources – the US and Venezuela, he explained.

As we have previously reported, supplies from Venezuela have been waning due to that country’s internal challenges, forcing Belize to increase its purchases from the US market.

The affected Texas oil refineries are not expected to resume normal operations and return to full output for some weeks to come, which means that Harvey could adversely impact future pump prices as well.

According to the official Government of Belize statement, they are “working closely with the key supplier, PUMA, to ensure that such increases are kept to a bare minimum and remain for the shortest possible time.”

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