MOTORISTS are out to welcome the New Year with an additional burden as prices of petroleum products have increased starting at 12 a.m. Monday.

Nora Peligro, a staff at a dealer-operated Shell fuelling station in Barangay Kauswagan, this city, said Shell’s nationwide price for diesel is now pegged at P36.40 per liter, up by P1.25 from its previous price of P35.15.

She said Shell’s premium gasoline is now P44.65 per liter while unleaded gasoline is at P44.15, both increased by P1.00 per liter.

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“The increase was based on the advisory we received from Shell’s central office in Manila. We cannot impose an increase unless there is an advisory,” Peligro said.

The last time Shell had an increase on its petroleum products was on Dec. 29, 2009, with P1 per liter on gasoline -- both premium and unleaded -- and 0.50 centavos on diesel.

In January last year, prices of petroleum products were recorded at an erratic trend with at least six rollbacks and two increases.

Based on Shell’s monitoring, fuel prices had a 50-centavo rollback on January 13 and 16; 10-centavo decrease on January 19; 50-centavo rollback for diesel on January 24 and 75-centavo rollback for premium and unleaded gasoline on January 26.

Peligro said on January 20 at midnight, fuel prices increased by 50 centavos but had a rollback at 10 p.m. still at 50 centavos.

“We cannot really predict the prices of fuel. Usahay moubos, usahay motaas, dili parehas,” she said.

In May 2008, prices of gasoline even went to as high as P54.30 per liter for premium, P53.82 per liter for unleaded and P46.20 for diesel.

Local motorist Tony Albania said even if the prices would increase, he can do nothing about it since the prices are dictated by the world market.

“Wala man tay mahimo kay kinahanglan man gyud ta mopalit,” he said.