July 15, 2003
(Government Services and Lands)


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

Commission sets maximum fuel prices effective July 15

Summer has arrived, and the motoring public�s demand for fuel is one of several factors impacting the petroleum industry and pricing levels.

Even though prices on the world markets dipped slightly following June 11 - the last date used by the Petroleum Products Pricing Commission (PPPC) to establish prices for June 15 - this was merely a short-term occurrence.

In recent times, particularly during this past week, prices for petroleum products have taken an upward turn. This, in effect, more than negated any declines that occurred earlier in the 30-day period used by the commission to calculate its fuel prices.

Effective 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, July 15, the maximum price for all types of gasoline will increase by 0.6 cents per litre (cpl), while there will be no change in diesel prices. Home heating fuel (furnace and stove oil) will see a minimal elevation of 0.07 cpl, whereas residential propane prices will decline by 0.8 cpl.

George Saunders, PPPC commissioner, said the world is in a period where fuel prices are on the rise, and the commission has to take these circumstances and apply them fairly in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"We are in the summer season, and this means a higher demand for gasoline," noted Mr. Saunders. "The public may be wondering why prices aren�t coming down at this time. The reality is we are in a situation where prices are increasing on the world scene. People are on the move with vacation travel, and this puts a pressure on supplies � where inventories haven�t yet reached the pre-Middle East war levels � and prices are rising as a result. It is my belief that if we didn�t have regulation in the Newfoundland and Labrador market, with world prices as they are, the cost for fuel would be much higher."

Another factor impacting fuel prices throughout the past 30-day period was a two-week general strike in Nigeria, which took place because the government abolished subsidies on fuel during a period when the country is experiencing shortages in petrol, diesel and kerosene for domestic use. This threat to Nigerian supplies (the world�s eighth largest oil exporter) coincided with the delay in Iraqi exports because of looting and sabotage, and consequently, these events have affected prices.


Mr. Saunders said his fact-finding tour of the province is nearing completion, as plans are currently being made to travel to the cities of St. John�s and Mount Pearl sometime this month for site visitations with retailers and agencies.

Following that trip, the commissioner will travel with his research staff to the northern coast of Labrador in August. Arrangements for this tour are being made in consultation with the Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs. While there, Mr. Saunders will visit all communities between Rigolet and Nain.

"We are confident this trip will be as informative as we have found the other areas of the province to be," said the commissioner. "We have been conducting these tours for the past two years, and the major benefits have been to ensure our database is as current as possible, as well as give us an opportunity to communicate with those directly involved in the industry."

1. Automotive Fuels - Maximum Retail Pump Prices - Effective July15, 2003;
2. Heating Fuels - Residential Propane - Maximum Tank Wagon Prices - Effective July 15, 2003;
3. Heating Fuels - Maximum Tank Wagon (or ** Tank Farm) Prices - Effective July 15, 2003

Media contact: Michelle Hicks, Communications. Tel: 1-866-489-8800; (709) 489-8837; Cell: (709) 486-4789.

2003 07 15                                         10:00 a.m.

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