18 July 2018
Pump prices have fallen less than the cost of crude oil, the Consumer Council says. Photo: Bloomberg
Pump prices have fallen less than the cost of crude oil, the Consumer Council says. Photo: Bloomberg

HK fuel prices fail to reflect falling cost of crude: Watchdog

Retail prices for gasoline and diesel in Hong Kong have failed to reflect the falling cost of crude oil, Apple Daily reported Friday, citing the Consumer Council.

The watchdog analyzed the trend of pump prices for motor fuel during the past two years.

It found that the city’s five fuel retailers took only four days to raise their prices when crude prices rose but took eight days to cut their prices when crude prices fell.

While the price of crude oil on the international market had dropped about 50 percent in the past half year, local fuel retail prices only declined 20 percent, the council said.

Hong Kong’s fuel prices are the second most expensive in the world, after Norway, and have fallen the least in the region, it said.

In Taiwan, the pump price for gasoline dropped to HK$5.81 per liter (75 US cents) this month from HK$7.70 in October, a decrease of 24.5 percent, while the price in Hong Kong fell only 13.5 percent to about HK$14.14 per liter during the same period, the council said.

It criticized the fuel retailers for profiteering and recommended that the government investigate.

The council has submitted its research report to the city’s Competition Commission.

Fuel retailers said the gap between the pump prices and crude oil prices depends on rent and labor costs.

The Environment Bureau, which oversees fuel retailers, defended the firms Thursday, saying the council’s method for comparing gasoline retail prices and crude oil costs is inappropriate.

Using the Mean of Platts Singapore, a benchmark for the price of crude oil, the bureau found that pump prices of gasoline fell about 50 percent when the cost of crude declined by a similar proportion.

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