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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Numbers up again

When will the consumer speak?

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, February 14, 2012- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will experience another increase in refined petroleum prices this week when the Public Utilities Board adjusts prices on Thursday. That news comes from George Murphy, group researcher for the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices and NDP Member of the House of Assembly for St. John’s East.

“I don’t know how far upwards prices have to climb before the consumer speaks by holding back on purchasing. Prices are out of balance with the realities of the crude oil markets and we should be seeing prices well below where they presently sit. I blame speculators for the move upward in the refined commodity markets”. Murphy said.

What’s happening with refined prices?

“Crude oil is up slightly this week by a rough two dollars US on a barrel and sit close to where they were during the first week of December of 2011. The kicker here is that refined prices for gasoline, for example, are close on ten cents a litre higher than where refined products were during the same week. Heating, stove oils and diesels are also trending up over the same weeks by close on five cents a litre for the distillates. There’s no doubt in my mind that there’s a concerted move afoot to make some quick dollars off the consumer, and the test of the consumers limits of patience in paying higher consumer prices.

The numbers this week

“As predicted last week, heating and stove oils are projected to increase by another 1.59 cents a litre, while diesel fuels are projected to increase by another 1.9 cents. Gasoline prices are projected to increase by 2.6 cents a litre. Keep in mind that the heating oil number is just a rough indicator but still is reflective of stove oil numbers. The same also occurs for the diesel fuel number as both heating oil and diesel fuels are reflective of a winter blend for which I cannot track without more information on kerosene in their mix. However, they are still a good indicator of those fuels direction in price change.”

Will the markets see a correction?

“Consumers are going to have to conserve and try to bring pressure, on a collective basis, to Big Oil’s investors. It will take a while for prices to retreat if consumers started tomorrow. In the meantime, it may take a drastic change to the present economic conditions out there in order for prices to return to something more affordable, and sustainable to consumers. Right now, there’s probably people out there whose patience with present pricing levels is beginning to wear thin.”

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For more information, contact;

George Murphy

Group researcher/member

Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Twitter: @GeorgeMurphyNDP

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