By JADE RUSSELL
Tribune Staff Reporter
HIGH fuel costs and the government’s failure to address margin concerns prompted some petroleum retailers to stop selling diesel yesterday, according to Bahamas Petroleum Retailers Association President Raymond Jones.
“I have gotten reports that the majority of fuel stations were not selling diesel,” Mr Jones told The Tribune, adding he expects the problem will last “until things change”.
Fuel retailers have complained about margins limiting their profit for many months.
“This is a result,” Mr Jones said, “of the high cost of diesel and a margin that barely gives them any profit. The cost to operate fuel stations in the current environment has escalated to the point where most retailers are barely breaking even. Retailers operate against a fixed margin that is not flexible against rising operating cost other than the government making a change with the fuel margin.
“We have requested consideration to amend the fuel margin for more than a year but have now ran out of fuel on this. As we have said previously, we work to serve our customers within the constraints of what we are able to purchase for resale. We are looking at reduced hours of operation as another mechanism to achieve cost savings.”
Retailers have sought a margin increase of seven per cent of the landed fuel cost.
Vasco Bastian, vice president of the retailers association, told The Tribune last week that residents may face a dire summer as retailers doubt the government will address their concerns in the upcoming budget.
He said several meetings with government officials have borne no fruits.
Rudolph Taylor, the Bahamas Unified Bus Drivers Union (BUDU) president, said yesterday some bus drivers were affected by the limited availability of diesel.
He said several bus drivers could not fill their tanks and operate effectively throughout the day.
“Of course, if they can’t work,” he said, “it affects their quota that they’re supposed to turn into their bosses as well as whatever little funds they normally make for themselves driving. In some respect, it will affect their pockets. If the wholesalers and retailers decide not to provide the diesel, it will affect the busing industry and by extension other industries as well.”
“It helps persons to recognise that it will only be a matter of time before it affects the motoring public who has gasoline vehicles because it’s only going to be so long if they continue that it will affect just the vehicles that run with diesel.”
He added: “What they’re feeling now is something that we were crying for and ain’t nobody came to our aid.”
Economic Affairs Minister Michael Halkitis declined to comment on the matter yesterday.
JokeyJack 1 week, 5 days ago
That's good. PLP & FNM voters deserve what they get. Im happy to suffer along with them if it ensures they suffer too.
As the world crumbles, here in the Habamas our lack of good governance will ensure we suffer even worse than Bud Light.
bahamianson 1 week, 5 days ago
Bout time they take action. Always talk , talk, talk. The government always does what it wants to do. If we protest and nothing is done, why protest?
killemwitdakno 1 week, 4 days ago
There's hybrid buses. Byd ,whom we know, also has their K series.
SP 1 week, 4 days ago
Games, smoke and mirrors, and more games! Focal is owned by the Sunshine boys. The Sunshine boys are the PLP and FNM. And the PLP and FMNM are the government.
So the government "pretending" to be against a rate increase and creating a diesel fuel shortage will create just enough pain for the public to give the government justification for a rate increase at the pumps.
The bottom line is FOCAL (the PLP and FNM) facilitates a price increase at the pumps and gets to blame the dealers for the increase in fuel cost!
Commenting has been disabled for this item.