LPG price cut no good for cabbies

Local | Sophie Hui 27 Mar 2020

Prices for auto-liquefied petroleum gas will be seeing a decline for the second consecutive month in April, but taxi drivers say the price cut is only "a drop in the bucket."

The ceiling prices for auto-LPG, used by a portion of the SAR's 18,000 taxis, will range from HK$3.11 to HK$3.67 per liter starting next month, representing a 29 cent decrease per liter.

The price adjustment for the 12 dedicated LPG filling stations was announced by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department yesterday.

Starting April 1, the auto-LPG ceiling price at filling stations on Fung Yip Street in Chai Wan and Ngo Cheung Road in West Kowloon will be HK$3.67 per liter, while that of Hang Yiu Street in Ma On Shan and Tak Yip Street in Yuen Long will be HK$3.11 per liter.

An EMSD spokesman said the adjustment "reflects the movement of the LPG international price in March." He said the prices were adjusted based on a specific pricing formula that comprises the LPG international and the LPG operating price.

The international price is the preceding month's price, while the operating price is adjusted every February 1 according to the Composite Consumer Price Index, the spokesman explained.

The ceiling prices decreased by 22 cents per liter in March, ranging from HK$3.40 to HK$3.96 per liter.

But taxi drivers were dissatisfied with the decrease, saying it could not match the significant drop in oil prices.

Francis Li Chiu-fan, spokesman of the Association for Taxi Industry Development, said the decrease is only "a drop in the bucket," and that the government is incompetent in regulating fuel prices.

"While the oil prices have fallen significantly lately, the [retail] prices still come down very slowly and go up quickly," he said. "Why there is no mechanism to regulate the oil companies?"

Oil prices have fallen more than 40 percent after the two leading oil producers - Saudi Arabia and Russia - launched a price war earlier this month. It recorded a 25 percent plunge in a single day on March 9, the biggest since the 1991 Gulf War.

The environment bureau earlier said auto fuels' retail prices are based on commercial principles and operating costs.

It said price changes in international crude oil, unleaded petrol and motor vehicle diesel are not necessarily the same as auto fuels in Hong Kong are imported refined oil products, so it would be more appropriate to look at the Means of Platts Singapore trend and import prices.

"MOPS prices fluctuate day to day, but oil companies do not adjust their auto-fuel prices daily," it explained.

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