Global motorists saddled by high fuel costs for first time in history; A look at Kenya, its peers

Fuel stabilisation fund kity receives Ksh.6.7 billion

Fuel prices have more than doubled in two years, saddling millions of motorists with enormous costs.

For example, in the United States, Americans are plagued by inflation with fuel prices being one of their worst headaches.

The average price of a litre of petrol reached a new all-time high for the sixth week in a row on Monday, climbing to Ksh.586 ($5.00) from Ksh.527 a month ago, an all-time high for the first time ever.

U.S gas prices have surged by more than 60 percent over the past 12 months, leaving millions of Americans who rely on cars with unprecedented pain at the pump.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, gas is currently most expensive in several U.S. states and cities on the West Coast, with the average price of regular gasoline hitting Ksh.734.8 ($6.27) in California and Ksh.747.7 ($6.38) in San Francisco.

Countries around the world are faced with unprecedented unbearable pump prices for the first time in history, owing to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

In Kenya, a litre of Pretrol was revised upward by Ksh.9 to retail at Ksh.159.12 per litre and Kshs.140 for Diesel and Kshs.127.94 per litre for Kerosine.

Average landed cost of imported Petrol increased by 5.96 percent to Ksh.102,668.58 per cubic metre in May from Ksh.102,751.28 in April.

Today, fuel price in Saudi Arabia, Kenya’s biggest supplier is Ksh.72.8 for a litre of Petrol and Diesel at Ksh.19.8. The prices have been maintained for three consecutive months to June.

Even though Kenya is doing relatively well compared to some of its peers in the East African Community (EAC), Tanzania’s pump price was lowered after the government announced a Ksh.5 billion fuel subsidy in May.

According to the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA), the retail price for petrol is Ksh.150.6 (Tsh2,994), diesel Ksh.157.2 (Tsh3,126).

Uganda is the worst hit where a litre of Petrol is currently retailing at Ksh.176 per litre.

A rare combination of economic and geopolitical forces now manifest themselves at the pump.

According to Bloomberg, the global economy’s rapid recovery from the pandemic created more demand for fule, pushing prices higher. Then, the invasion of Ukraine led to a global backlash against Russia, which produces more oil than all but two other countries. So prices went higher again.

Sri Lanka, the worst-hit nation by COVID-19 and now rising energy prices and populist tax cuts said in May it cannot find the cash to pay a single ship for petrol.

This has compounded the country’s cost of living with no signs of getting cooking gas and petrol at fuel stations.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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