Fuel prices go up; everything else follows!

By Benjamin Flowers

Staff Reporter

Businesses in Belize City are beginning to worry about the negative effects that increasing gas prices will have on their operations.

The price of fuel in Belize saw its fourth increase in two months this week. This latest price hike sent regular fuel up by 47 cents, from $9.79 to  $10.26 a gallon.  The price of diesel also went up 28 cents from $9.10 to $9.38, while premium fuel got a price decrease from $10.79 to $10.58.

Taxi operators were the first to voice their concerns, saying that they might have to raise their prices to compensate for the additional costs.

Lionel Longworth, president of the Belize Dollar Van Association, said that the dollar vans are facing an increasingly difficult time, because of the customers they serve.

“We’re dealing with people who cannot really afford to pay more than they already are,” Longworth said. “We operate on a standard: we don’t charge pre-schoolers, primary school children are 50 cents, and adults pay $1.”

He added that the Association is considering approaching the fuel providers to see if they can broker an arrangement, because if the hikes continue, they will end up operating at a loss. The Association is holding a meeting with its membership, some 65 drivers on Sunday, to plot a way forward.

Meanwhile food vendors are also concerned about what the increased costs will do to their businesses. A small survey of small food vendors around Belize City revealed that there is a growing concern that increasing prices may decrease the number of customers.

Food vendors are also concerned that reducing portion size or substituting ingredients for cheaper alternatives may cause them to lose regular patrons.

Iconic Belize City meat pie bakery, Dario’s  put out a notice this week, that the price of meat pies will go up as of next month. Dario’s said that effective May 2, meatpies will cost $1.50.

The rise in fuel costs will eventually cause the price of many other goods and services throughout the country to go up, and prohibit others from expanding. The Reporter will have more on this story in its next issue.


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