Petrol prices continue to soar, causing more challenges for transport firms

The retail prices of oil and petrol continued to rise from May 11 following the latest adjustment by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Ministry of Finance.

 

Accordingly, from 3pm yesterday, the price of RON95 bio-fuel was raised by VND1,550 per litre to VND29,980 (US$1.3) per litre, while that of E5 RON92 rose by VND1,490 per litre to VND28,950 ($1.26) per litre.

Meanwhile, the price of diesel oil was up by VND1,120 per litre to VND26,650 ($1.16) per litre. A rise of VND1,340 per litre was also seen in the price of kerosene to VND25,160 ($1.09).

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the world petroleum market witnessed many big changes last week. The EU proposed an embargo on petroleum products from Russia, while the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) did not increase output as proposed by the EU, causing concerns about petroleum supply to the market. Besides that, the crude oil demand increased on the world market after the US announced a plan to buy back 60 million barrels for emergency stockpiles. Those factors pushed the price of finished petroleum products higher.

This is the eighth adjustment made to petrol prices since the beginning of this year, with only three decreases, and the third from the end of April.

Earlier on May 4, the ceiling retail price of RON95 was raised by VND440 to VND28,430 per litre, while that of E5 RON92 increased by VND330 to VND27,460 per litre. At the same time, the price of diesel was capped at VND25,530 per litre, an increase of VND180.

Do Van Bang, vice chairman of the Ha Noi Transport Association, told VTC News on May 11 that petrol prices account for about 40-50 per cent of transportation costs, so the increase in petrol prices has created more difficulties for transport companies.

“Petroleum prices have increased strongly, it is forecast to be up to VND35,000 - 40,000 per litre. If it surges to that level, the passenger transport companies will find it difficult to survive," Bang said.

"I know that the increase in gasoline price is mandatory due to the surge in the world oil prices, but with the strong increase in petrol prices, only stopping operations can help the companies escape losses," he said.

Bang, also director of the Sao Viet transport company, said his company has more than 100 vehicles, but now only 30 are in operation. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the company to stop or operate in moderation, so it has suffered huge losses. Since April, it just started to recover, but now faces increasing fuel costs.

However, the firm cannot consider increasing ticket prices to offset the cost due to the low number of passengers, according to Bang.

Nguyen Dam Van, general director of Van Minh Travel and Tourism Company, said that the high price of petrol has made it difficult for the company to compete, leading to a new crisis after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic, which lasted for more than two years, caused businesses to suffer heavy losses. Since the pandemic has been controlled, buses have recovered. However, the price of gasoline increased rapidly. Input costs have been increased, while the ticket price is unchanged, the company continues to suffer heavier losses," said Van.

With the current situation, Bang said to support the transport companies, the State should temporarily suspend the collection of environmental protection tax.

“The transportation industry faces too many challenges. Adjusting taxes for petrol products can lower the petrol prices, helping the transport companies overcome difficulties," said Bang.

Ngo Tri Long, a price expert, said petrol products include many kinds of taxes, including environmental protection tax and special consumption tax.

"The reduction of special consumption tax on gasoline will help lower the price, reducing inflationary pressure, and avoid any impact on businesses and people's lives," Long said.

Economic expert Dinh Trong Thinh said the State should consider removing the special consumption tax on petrol products because this kind of tax should be imposed on luxury goods or harmful products and services while petrol is essential. Moreover, petroleum is also subject to environmental protection tax.

Tran Duy Dong, director of the Domestic Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that if the gasoline prices continue to rise, it is possible to consider reducing the special consumption tax.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has scenarios for managing petrol prices if the petrol price hits $130 per barrel or $150 on the world market. Accordingly, it will propose to reduce taxes for petrol products, such as environmental protection, special consumption and value-added taxes, and diversify petrol supply, Dong said. 

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