By Orville Williams
Despite their discontent with the increased costs of gasoline and diesel, the consensus among some motorists is that they simply have to continue their daily business as the situation is ‘out of their hands’.
The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has sent shockwaves throughout the world, affecting not only bilateral relations between Russia and practically every other country, but also driving up the cost of fuel around the globe.
Antigua and Barbuda is therefore not the only territory feeling the pinch – a view shared by those paying more to fill up at gas stations as of last Tuesday.
“To be honest, when I heard of the increase, I said ‘okay, I don’t have control over it’, so I didn’t really go into panic mode. I thought [that] if I frequent the roads regularly, depending on what kind of work I do [and] where I have to go, I said to myself ‘maybe I have to cut out certain things’,” one motorist told Observer.
Another motorist said that she was not necessarily against the increase, but believes it could have been better communicated to the public.
“I don’t have a problem with the increase, but it’s how they did it. [They] need to talk to the people, get the people together and [let them know] we’re going to raise the gas.
“Now, I still have to do my business, so I will still have to be on the road…but I hope that the [price of] cooking gas doesn’t go up, because there is where we’d have a problem,” she explained.
One man lamented the rise in fuel prices, particularly at this time, given the other increases to food and other necessities over the past couple months.
He noted that simple things like a trip to his favourite beach would have to be restricted to certain occasions, as he has “plenty mouths to feed”.
Simple things like that, he said, made the increase hard to swallow, and he called on the government to put measures in place to support the population financially, at least for a short while.
That support, he added, should then be followed by a much-needed increase in salaries across the board.
“[The increase] is really a wicked act on the people in this country…we as the poor people are feeling it, because some people cannot even find $15 to buy a gallon of gas.
“It’s not right and I don’t appreciate it, but I have to go with it because it’s already there, but I’m not happy about it,” another motorist said.
The increase went into effect on Tuesday, meaning motorists will now have to pay $15.70 per gallon for gasoline – up from $12.50 – and $15.50 per gallon for diesel, up from $12.20.
It is not immediately clear how long the Russian invasion of Ukraine will last, and how long it will take before fuel prices could “return to normal”, but many motorists have their fingers crossed that that will happen sooner rather than later.