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Gas up again! Dollar-fifty vans on the way?

By Benjamin Flowers

Staff Reporter

As the price per gallon of fuel continues to rise, dollar van operators are contemplating raising the price of their service to remain in business.

On Thursday, May 11, the Government of Belize, through the Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS), announced the changes to Premium and Diesel fuel.  Premium went up by 46 cents, from $10.58 to $11.04. Diesel went down by 3 cents, from $9.38 to $9.35. Regular fuel, at least for the time being, remains unchanged, though some reports indicate that another price hike may be soon to follow.

The new increase on Premium fuel follows a 28-cent decrease  just two weeks prior ($10.79 to $10.58). The increase also reflects the fifth change to the price per gallon of one or more types of fuel in less than three months.

The Belize Dollar Van Association, after the fuel price increase at the end of April, began considering ways to cope with the increased operational costs.

President of the BDVA, Lionel Longworth, told the Reporter on Thursday that the Association has been conducting a survey to see how they could implement a price increase that would have the least impact on their customers.

Longworth said that, given the average amount of children per household, the Association felt it easier to increase the price on adult fares.

“We’re being very considerate in the matter, because we know the situation of many of our customers,” Longworth said. “We feel that a 50-cent price increase on adult fares will have the least impact on households.”

He added that the price increase was a last resort for the Association, and is still not a sure thing. The Association will hold a meeting over the weekend, to decide if an increase is the measure that they will indeed to implement.

Other businesses such as Dario’s Meat Pies, have raised their prices in order to cope with the rising cost of doing business. In contrast, Pou Meatpies on New Road, has maintained its  price at  85 cents per pie.

Casa Pan Dulce Bakery, which serves Belmopan, Santa Elena/San Ignacio and surrounding villages, announced last week that it will phase out the price-controlled 16 ounce loaf of bread, which sells for $1.75 and replace it with a 17 ounce loaf for $2.00.

The Belize Bureau of Standards is consulting with the Solicitor General’s office to test the legitimacy of this move.

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