The most recent increase in gas prices is more than double the agreed-upon limit with Argentine companies.
The government of Mauricio Macri in Argentina defended the announced fuel price hike that began on Sunday, as the country recently faced large protests against utility hikes and austerity measures under his conservative administration.
The new adjustment prices – the 7th since Macri took office in Dec. 2015 – will see a 7.2 percent hike in gasoline and 6 percent in diesel, despite that the agreement with the oil companies in Argentina the hike would not exceed 3 percent.
“An agreement was made between the government and the oil companies to establish what would be the mechanism for the increases and a sort of polynomial formula was established,” Raul Castellano, president of the Chamber of Fuel Suppliers said.
“But an adjustment was pending to offset somehow the lag that occurred last year between inflation and the increase in the price of fuel, and that is what led the percentage a little higher.”
The private sector leader said the next increase could come in 3 months.
“Let’s wait and see what happens in the next increase, which is going to be in October,” Castellanos said.
In October, Macri approved a massive increase in the price of gas and utilities as part of his administration’s neoliberal overhaul. Massive protests broke out in response to the increases, including a spike in electricity costs by up to 700 percent.
Macri’s Energy Minister Juan Jose Aranguren had to sell his stocks in oil giant Shell, estimated to be worth US$1.16 million after the opposition accused him of making money off major hikes in the price of gasoline.
In 2017, gasoline increased 16 percent according to Castellanos. This was in addition to the 2016 increases of 6 percent in January, another 6 percent in March, again 6 percent in April and 10 percent in May.
In the city of Buenos Aires, gasoline costs 19.72 pesos or US$1.20 and gas oil is 17.30 pesos, about US$1.05.