State agency warns fuel retailers over pricing


Fuel retailers on Wednesday were warned to keep their marketing cost at no more than 2 baht per litre or the Commerce Ministry would take measures to control oil prices.

The warning was issued by Wattanapong Kurovat, director-general of the Energy Policy and Planning Office. He said his office had received complaints that the marketing cost collected by fuel retailers was too high, leading to increase in gasohol prices despite the government cutting excise tax.

Wattanapong said the office would seek cooperation from major retailers to lower the marketing cost otherwise the office would have to resort to oil price control through the Commerce Ministry.

Early this month, the Cabinet approved the reduction of excise tax for benzene and gasohol (petrol combined with ethanol) fuels by 1 baht from November 7 for three months.

Gasohol 91 saw a 2.50 baht cut, as it got an additional 1.50 baht subsidy from the Oil Fuel Fund.

However, motorists complained that the retail oil prices had dipped briefly but there was not enough supply while the prices were low. They said the prices later climbed gradually to the level before the price cut as major retailers claimed it was due to their high marketing cost.

Wattanapong said his office realised the marketing cost rose because of higher labour cost, property rent, land tax and rising cost of basic infrastructure.

However, he said, the major retailers must keep the marketing cost at the proper level, which should be no more than 2 baht per litre.

He said his office found that the current marketing cost of oil was as high as 4.80 baht per litre.

“I’ve asked all the major oil retailers to control the marketing cost to the appropriate level that is fair to both sellers and consumers,” Wattanapong said.

“These days, the marketing cost is too high. Although the global prices are fluctuating, the oil retailers should take into account that the people are suffering from the rising prices,” he said.