MEXICO CITY – The maximum prices of gasoline and diesel between Feb. 4-17 in Mexico will remain the same as in January, when a significant price hike sparked strong protests, the Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) announced Friday.
The average maximum prices of Magna gasoline will therefore remain at 15.99 pesos ($0.78) per gallon, Premium gasoline at 17.79 pesos ($0.83) per gallon, and a gallon of diesel at 17.05 pesos ($0.83), the SHCP said in a bulletin.
Last Jan. 1, gasoline prices jumped between 14 and 20% in Mexico, a government measure meant to precede a step-by-step deregulation in the sector, and which was met with an explosion of public anger, demonstrations and disturbances around the country.
The secretariat explained the increase by the fact that prices had remained unchanged under “government austerity measures” and because of the “recent evolution” in the rate of exchange and of “international gasoline prices.”
The SHCP added that fuel prices will be “consistent with the process of adapting to the fuel market.”
So for now, it said, the top prices applicable to each of the 90 regions of the country will undergo no modifications during this period.
Starting on Feb. 18, however, changes in gasoline prices will occur daily, the SHCP will report what the prices are and the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) will publish them on its Web page.
Later, with the gradual freeing up of fuel prices, the first stage of which will get started on March 30, existing prices in all regions of the country will be announced on the official CRE site.
The rise in fuel prices last Jan. 1 set off strong protests among motorists around much of the country, plus disturbances that left six people dead, some 1,500 under arrest and more than 680 gas stations plundered, for losses estimated at some $90 million.
Because of that, many voices were raised against another price hike in February – even among the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, which last Monday asked the government to do everything in its power to avoid price increases in February.