QCOSTARICA – If you haven’t gotten over the whopping increase in fuel prices that went into effect this Wednesday, ready for another, the fifth consecutive this year, as the do nothing Costa Rican refinery made its latest request on Friday.
The request, that would take effect by the end of the month, is for an increase of ¢8 colones for a liter of super and ¢6 colones for regular. Users of diesel fuel will get a break, a drop of ¢19 colones per liter.
Not if, but when, the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos (Aresep) – regulating authority – approves the increase, the prices at the pumps will change from the current ¢700 to ¢708 for super; from ¢683 to ¢689 for regular; and from ¢572 to ¢533 for a liter of diesel.
Prices of LP gas, kerosene, jet fuel and others will also see a change.
The current formula to fix fuel prices is that the RECOP files a change on the second Friday of the month, the Aresep then has 15 days to resolve and will then publish its decision in the Official Gazette La Gaceta, with prices at the pumps changing the following day.
This means that, by counting out the days of the process, the increase will be felt by users in the last week of April.
The increase that occurred on Tuesday of this week would have normally occurred at the end of March, but the Semana Santa holiday affected the process.
According to the methodology, on May 14, the RECOPE will be filing for a new change that could see fuel prices go even higher.
Typical reasons given to increase fuel prices are international prices, the dollar exchange, a single tax on fuels, and changes in the consumer price index, among others.
Costa Rica, besides being at the mercy of variations in external fuel prices, the ineptitude of a state refinery – RECOPE – that does not refine anything contributes to high fuel prices in the country.
This is evidenced by the fact that other countries in the region purchase import the same fuels, but maintain lower fuel prices to the consumer.
“In Costa Rica, these increases are heavier for consumers, due to the single tax on fuels. For super and plus gasoline, this tax has represented an average of 41% of the price per liter in the last 10 years and in the case of diesel it has represented an average of 30% in the same period,” explained Carlos Montenegro, executive director of the Cámara de Industrias de Costa Rica (Chamber of Industries of Costa Rica).
Following is a comparison of fuel prices (US dollars per US gallon) for March 2021 in Central America by Centralamericadata.com