Petrol Price Hikes in Burma as Middle East Crisis Arises

Mawlamyaing Price (US$ 5)

“Filling up my car with petrol in a gasoline station today, I learned that the price of high octane petrol is 3600 kyat and diesel oil costs 4200 kyat; diesel price was still 3800 kyat yesterday. A worker from the station told me that prices are likely to go up,” said U Thet Win, a gasoline user.

According to the users, during last ten days, the price for a gallon of diesel remained at 3600 ks. It went up another 400 kyats and reached 4200 kyats today from 3800 kyat of the day before yesterday’s price. The high octane oil was sold for 3300 kyat per gallon previously and it also was up to 3600 kyat since last ten days.

Home-Made White Petrol (US$ 3 dollars)

It has also been learnt that the home-made petrol called “White Petrol” was still sold at the fixed-price 2500 kyats a gallon in private gas stations, although prices of diesel and high octane gasoline were high. That’s why, most of the car owners are queuing up to buy petrol in stations that only aim at reselling it for profit.

Market of Queuing for Petrol and Reselling it

It has been seen that vans, saloons and pickup trucks along with 30-40 year old cars have to wait in a line to buy petrol for one and half hour or almost two hours, at least. It is the usual scene that a long line of automobiles can be, almost daily, seen around petrol stations in Yangon. It is also found that some diligent resellers went and joined a queue in front of the station since 2:30 or 3:00 am in the mornings.

“In Mawlamyaing, a country town, it is said that the route trucks earn daily regular income by queuing for petrol and reselling it rather than transporting passengers”, said a local resident.

Plutocrats of Petrol and Diesel Market

Before April of last year, the military junta invited tenders from companies in order to privatize 246 state-owned petrol stations. Most of the private companies close to military regime won the contracts. The enterprises entrusted with contracts to run these stations include Htoo Trading, Max Myanmar, Nilar Yoma (run by owner of Kanbawza bank), New Day (Joint Venture of Myanmar Economic Holding and Dr. Sai San Htun), Shwe Thanlwin and Myawaddy Petrol Trading of Myanmar Economic Holding limited. These companies started opening their outlets on the 10th of June, last year.

Burma Fuel Prices Standing Shoulder to Shoulder with American’s

It has been learnt that San Fransisco bay area of California has both the highest price of gasoline and highest pay in the USA. The petrol was sold at over US $4 there. It has also been seen that the people from Burma, one of the poorest countries in the world, have to buy the fuel to use with, as high prices as Americans do.

While market analysts are estimating the earnings of a daily wage laborer of Burma at US $100 a month, an ordinary worker in the USA earns US $1500 dollars per month, approximately.