The country’s oil firms cut pump prices by as much as P0.35 per liter for kerosene and P0.10 per liter for diesel but raised the price of gasoline by P0.10 per liter effective 6am Tuesday to reflect the movement of world oil prices.
“Demand from China and Japan weakened. Activities of Chinese factories declined, followed by the second biggest economy in Asia, which is Japan. America has ample supply and there is also an impact from the slowdown of India activity,” Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said.
Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., PTT Philippines, PetroGazz Philippines and Eastern Petroleum Corp. implement the price adjustment while other oil firms are expected to follow. The oil firms implement price adjustments every Tuesday.
Year-to-date adjustments now stand at P3.75 per liter for gasoline, P4.35 pe rliter for diesel and P2.70 per liter for kerosene, according to the latest monitoring report of the Department of Energy.
Fuentebella, meanwhile, said the DOE will still study the proposal of the Agriculture Department to increase the biodiesel blend from two percent coco-methyl ester to 5 percent CME blend in diesel.
“We will listen first kung ano proposal of DA the increase ng biodiesel because at the end of the day, it’s full appreciation is comprehensive analysis. If we sit down together, we will look at the price and the effect on the environment at entire economy,” he said.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, for its part, is urging the DOE and the National Biofuels Board to thoroughly study the proposal of the DA, particularly its impact on the pump price of diesel.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol announced that he would lobby for the increase of biofuel content in diesel from B2 to B5 to absorb oversupply in the copra industry.
Gatchalian, chairman of Senate Committee on Energy said the lawmaker pointed out that is paramount for the NBB, an advisory body to the DOE, to study whether an increase to five percent blend is warranted and whether the local production of feedstock is sufficient to meet present and future demand.
“The DOE and NBB should weigh the impact of increasing the biofuel content from B2 to B5, especially with the recent implementation of the new round of increases in the excise tax on fuel in January. After all, the law requires the recommendation of the NBB before the DOE decides to increase the blend,” Gatchalian said.
Citing the study his office conducted, Gatchalian estimated that increasing the biofuel content in diesel from B2 to B5 may result in a 7.5-percent increase, equivalent to â‚±2.86, in the pump price of biodiesel.
Gatchalian pointed out that an ordinary jeepney driver, who consumes around 15 liters of diesel per day, might need to tighten his belt further since he will be expected to shell out an additional â‚±1,286.30 per month if the blend is increased; an amount Gatchalian said could instead be used to buy a half sack of rice or additional groceries.
The lawmaker recalled that during the last Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Biofuels hearing, there had been concerns of lack of feedstock, which he said prevented the DOE from mandating the increase from the current two percent blend.
Data from the DOE shows that for biodiesel, the annual capacity in 2017 was 574.9 million liters but production was only at 39 percent of capacity.
Gatchalian said the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee is set to conduct a hearing on DA’s proposal to increase the biodiesel blend in the fuel market from 2 percent to 5 percent to cushion the falling prices of copra.
“I hope that we can agree on action steps in order to move the industry forward and attain the goal of energy security and environmental sustainability as envisioned by the authors of the Biofuels Act,” the lawmaker said.