ZIMBABWE’S fuel prices are the 25th highest in the world according to latest information provided by Globalpetrolprices.com.
This is despite a worldwide fall in oil prices in the global markets and the country’s mandatory blending policy, which compels fuel companies to sell blended fuel with 15% ethanol and 85% unleaded petrol.
The website, which quoted local petrol prices at US$1,42 per litre as at February 2, also shows the country’s fuel as the third most expensive in Africa second only to Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where petrol sells at US$1,49 and US$1,51 respectively.
Neighbours Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia all have cheaper petrol pegged at US$0, 70, US$0, 97, US$0,73 and US$1,12 in that order.
According to the website, the average price of gasoline around the world is US$1,03 per litre.
“However, there is substantial difference in these prices among countries,” the website further states adding, “as a general rule, richer countries have higher prices while poorer countries and the countries that produce and export oil have significantly lower prices.”
The price of oil has fallen in the past year from a peak of around US$115 a barrel last summer to less than US$47 at the beginning of this month, with most countries responding through significant petrol and diesel price reductions.
The website also says that “all countries have access to the same petroleum prices of international markets but then decide to impose different taxes” – an excuse most fuel companies have advanced to explain their failure to significantly reduce prices.
Zimbabwe’s fuel, with the ethanol component, is hardly any cheaper. Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) prices show a marginal decline of US$0,03 in December to US$1,40 and US$1,51 per litre for diesel and petrol respectively, but this is still higher than prices in neighbouring countries.
In line with the falling global prices, government in early January ordered the reduction of petrol price from US$1,52 to US$1,32per litre and diesel to US$1,20 from US$1,44, only to raise customs duty on fuel the following week by US$0,10 per litre from US$0,35 per litre to US$0,45 per litre of unleaded petrol, while diesel went up from US$0,30 to US$0,40 per litre as the cash-strapped government sought to raise funds from the fall in oil prices.
This led fuel retailers to also increase prices by US$0,10 cents.