For the last several months the prices for gasoline and diesel have escalated continually creating a deep dent in the budgets of most Panamanians. If you add these high prices of gasoline to the ubiquitous “tranques” in the capital city, the result is stress, confusion and economic mayhem.
Below are the latest fuel prices even as we speak:
- Super Gasoline (95 Octane): $4.67 per U.S. gallon.
- Regular Gasoline (87 Octane): $4.32 per U.S. gallon.
- Light Diesel: $3.95 per U.S. gallon.
Besides stratospheric gasoline prices, a tsunami has reached the petroleum industry in Panama. Petróleos Delta, a local Panamanian company recently purchased all Shell Oil Company’s service stations in the Isthmus. It now owns 180 service stations in the country. That was a total surprise for many of us. The surprise was further compounded this week when, a Dutch company purchased all Esso-Mobile’s service stations in Central America including Panama.
The commodities trading company Trafigura Beheer, Puma Energy’s parent company, closed the business buying and selling of assets in Central America Mobil Esso. In Panama there are two terminals and some 50 stations.
With this operation, in Central America, Esso gas stations are all marked with the logos of the famous Puma and On the Run stores will now be Super 7 Express.
Trafigura, which is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, did not specify the amount paid for the acquisition, but explained that the deal included 290 new service stations.
From the standpoint of the Puma spokesman, the purchase is profitable because the operation is “well accepted” in small economies such as Central America, because they are evolving markets, while in countries like the U.S. and countries with larger economies, it is “more difficult to grow” because they are more mature economies.
As a result of these sustained high prices, my wife and I are seriously considering selling our Toyota Corolla and replacing it with a Toyota Yaris which is more fuel-efficient due to its smaller engine. Our cash-strapped budget is reaching the end of the rope and something has to be done to make ends meet. Good Day.