December 15, 2002
(Government Services and Lands)


The following is being distributed at the request of Petroleum Products Pricing Commission:

Fuel prices set for next 30 days

The Petroleum Products Pricing Commission (PPPC) said the public shouldn�t credit Christmas as the reason for a decline in fuel prices during this period of regulation. Instead, PPPC commissioner George Saunders said the reduction in fuel prices for Newfoundland and Labrador, particularly at the pumps, is the direct result of behaviour on the world market over the past 30 days.

Effective 12:01 a.m. December 15, the maximum price for regular unleaded gasoline will see a decrease of five cents per litre (cpl), while diesel will experience a 0.5 cpl shift downward. The price of home heating fuel will drop 0.03 cpl, and there will be no change in residential propane used for home heat purposes.

Mr. Saunders noted that when maximum prices for refined petroleum products were released by the commission November 15, there was a drop in the price of gasoline a couple of days prior that continued throughout the month.

"The public must remember that the commission sets the maximum prices for refined petroleum products based on the previous 30 days of activity, and oil companies can charge below these prices at any point," said the commissioner. "We also need to remind people that any official information about price regulation should come directly from my office, and not be entrusted to the speculation that�s made its way into the media from people who don�t have the complete picture."

The decrease in the price of home heating fuel wasn�t as significant as gasoline, said Mr. Saunders, because seasonal demand for the product (which is refined differently) has increased, and company inventories have adjusted in response to this demand.

It should be noted that ongoing international events - such as the general strike in Venezuela (the world�s fifth largest exporter of oil) which has affected production at refineries, as well as the tension between the United States and the Middle East - have the potential to impact prices in the future.


The PPPC is aware the provincial Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs is implementing a gasoline transportation subsidy for the coastal Labrador communities of Norman�s Bay, Pinsent�s Arm and Williams Harbour.

Consequently, the commission will invoke a notwithstanding clause (Section 4(3) of the Petroleum Products Act) in accordance with its authority, and will implement a temporary 10.9 cpl decrease in the price of gasoline products in these communities.

Mr. Saunders reminds people in these communities that this is an interim adjustment only. It becomes effective when the commission is notified by the Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs that the subsidized products have been delivered to these communities.

The price decrease will remain active only as long as the transportation subsidy is in effect, after which the communities will revert to previously established prices.

1. Automotive Fuels - Maximum Retail Pump Prices - Effective December 15, 2002
2. Heating Fuels - Residential Propane - Maximum Tank Wagon Prices - Effective December 15, 2002
3. Heating Fuels - Maximum Tank Wagon (or ** Tank Farm) Prices - Effective December 15, 2002

Media contact:

Michelle Hicks
Communications Officer
Petroleum Products Pricing Commission
Tel: 1-866-489-8800; 489-8837/8877

2002 12 13                      2:30 p.m.


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