If you are already raving about lower gasoline prices for the past several months now, wait until you learn how least costly petrol costs are in Mindanao! Consumers in key cities in the second biggest island of the archipelago have been enjoying a spree for several days now, with gasoline prices per liter settling as low as P30 to P31 pesos.
That is about P10 to P14 pesos cheaper than current Metro Manila prices of about P40 to P44 per liter. Motorists in Mindanao can enjoy the hefty savings whenever they gas up in stations of Petron, Shell, Caltex, Flying V, and other players.
This unusual gasoline price movement in Mindanao has not escaped the eye of the Department of Energy (DOE). According to undersecretary Wimpy Fuentebella, there is a need to make sure that this is not predatory pricing, a scheme of key players to kill competition.
“In the short run, it is beneficial. But when the competitors are eliminated, there might just be one, two, or three players left. That would be anti-competitive,” Fuentebella said in an interview by ABS-CBN’s late-night newscast Bandila.
Oil analysts in the region fear that this could lead to an onset of oligopoly or monopoly. DOE has already sent letters to various oil players operating in Mindanao, asking them to explain their pricing strategies in the area.
Meanwhile, Petron, one of the major oil retailers in the Philippines, denies reports that it started the aggressive price war. In a statement, the company said, “Our gasoline prices in Mindanao, as with all other locations, are driven by market factors. We did not initiate the big drop in petroleum prices in Mindanao. In fact, we have asked the DOE to look into this unusual price movement.”
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