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Lao Motorists Stunned By Record High Fuel Price

Source: Vientiane Times

The cost of all types of fuel in Laos, especially in Vientiane, is likely to hit a record high this year after the Ministry of Industry and Commerce announced new prices this month.

Changes in the price of fuel have been made by the ministry in accordance with rising prices in regional and world markets, meaning motorists in Laos will pay more than ever for imported petrol and diesel.

The latest hike has been ordered by the government to share the burden of rising fuel costs with customers.Under the revised pricing structure, motorists will pay almost 1,000 kip more for one litre of premium grade fuel, 200 kip more for regular petrol, and 530 kip more per litre of diesel.

This means motorists in Vientiane will pay 14,460 kip for one litre of premium grade petrol, while regular grade petrol will cost at 11,990 kip per litre, and diesel will cost 10,830 kip per litre.

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Every patrol station in Vientiane and the provinces will begin rolling out the new prices at 6am on Saturday (November 6). Prices go up from the current 13,620 kip per litre of premium grade petrol, 11,790 kip per litre of regular grade petrol, and 10,300 kip per litre of diesel.

After learning of the new prices, a motorcyclist in Vientiane said “As far as I’m concerned, the cost of petrol was already higher than ever before, but after reading about this latest price hike I’m speechless and don’t know what to do next.”

He said he spent two or three hours searching for petrol in various districts of Vientiane on Thursday but could only find a local pump which had a limited amount of fuel.

“I think some petrol stations knew the price would rise, so they suspended sales while they waited for official notification and then hoped to make a profit on their existing supplies,” he said.

The news was another blow to the young man on top of the rising price of most consumer goods due to the weakening value of the kip against the Thai baht and US dollar.

The distressed motorbike rider said he thought about buying petrol to keep at home so that he had some in stock as a hedge against another price hike, but felt it was unsafe to store fuel at home.

Early on Friday morning, motorists could be seen lined up at petrol stations in Vientiane and some provinces after they learnt about the increase in fuel prices in Thailand and other fuel-importing countries.

Drivers in Luang Prabang will pay even more than Vientiane’s motorists, where the new prices are 14,820 kip per litre of premium grade petrol, 12,360 kip per litre of regular grade, and 11,200 kip per litre of diesel.In Savannakhet province, the new price for premium grade petrol is set at 14,490 kip per litre, 12,020 kip per litre of regular grade, and 10,860 kip per litre of diesel.

In Champassak province, premium grade petrol will cost 14,520 kip per litre, 12,050 kip per litre of regular grade, and 10,890 kip per litre of diesel.

Once again, Phongsaly province has been slapped with the highest prices at 15,100 kip per litre of premium grade, 12,630 kip per litre of regular grade petrol, and 11,470 kip per litre of diesel.

Economists say such price hikes are unavoidable because Laos imports all of the fuel it uses and global oil and coal prices are rising, even though OPEC has agreed to increase petroleum output by another 400,000 barrels a day.