COMMUTERS and motorists are set to change their daily drive and commute habits as oil companies hike prices again.

Prices of gasoline and diesel are up P2 per liter and P2.50 per liter, respectively.

A transport group held a short protest rally from M.J. Cuenco Avenue in Barangay Carreta, Cebu City to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 office in Barangay Lorega-San Miguel on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023.

The Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) called for the government to get rid of oil taxes and activate the government’s hand in controlling the supply and regulating the prices of oil products.

Mody Floranda, national president of Piston, said drivers lose P400 a day or around P12,000 per month because of these increases which could be used for personal and family expenses.

This is the 11th straight week that oil companies increased the prices of gasoline.

“Pero dahil nga dito sa tuluy-tuloy na pagtaas ay direct na nawala sa bulsa ng mga driver at operator. (But because of this, the steady increase has gone directly out of the pockets of drivers and operators),” said Floranda.

Floranda suggested that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. should consider issuing an executive order to temporarily halt the implementation of the oil price hike.

In separate advisories, Caltex, Cleanfuel, Phoenix Petroleum, Seaoil, Shell, and PTT Philippines increased the prices of gasoline by P2 per liter and diesel by P2.50 per liter.

Greg Perez, chairman of Piston Cebu, said they are not pursuing a fare increase. They believe that a fare hike is not a practical solution to address the challenges posed by the rising oil prices.

Perez said they want the government to intervene and properly regulate the prices of oil and suspend its excise tax to reduce the effect of oil price increases.

“Walay control ang atong gobyerno (Our government has no control),” said Perez, describing the current state of the oil price.

Trimmed global supply

According to the Department of Energy’s World Oil Price Monitoring as of Sept. 12, oil prices rose on tight supply after Saudi Arabia and Russia announced the extension of voluntary production cuts through the end of 2023.

This meant cutting 1.3 million barrels of crude out of the global market and boosting energy prices, according to the Associated Press. The countries’ moves could increase inflation and the cost for motorists at gasoline pumps.

On the other hand, the DOE said weak China trade data reaffirmed views that the country’s economic recovery is slowing, adding to bearish sentiment around weaker China demand outlook. A stronger dollar also added headwinds for crude prices.

Cost-cutting measures

Due to the rising costs, some commuters who rely on ride-hailing services such as Angkas, among other platforms, are contemplating shifting back to riding public utility vehicles (PUVs).

“Yes because nimahal ang price gyud sa Angkas (Services of Angkas have gone up),” said Trisha Acasio, a university student.

However, there are commuters like Mike (not his real name), who currently spends approximately P300 per day on ride-hailing apps for his daily commute from Consolacion to Cebu City for work, who will stick to his commuting habit amid the soaring oil prices and ride-hailing apps services.

“I wouldn’t give up the convenience,” he said.

Commuters are also hoping for better and more PUVS to ply more routes to adequately meet the public’s transportation demands.

Moreover, to save on cost, Jom Ouano, a student and car owner, said he’ll have to plan out his daily trips.

“I’ll plan my route and drive less except for essential trips such as work or school and try to leave either early or very late to avoid traffic,” he said.

Another car owner Francis Yap, who uses his vehicle for daily drives said “he’ll only use his car when necessary.” (with KOC)