Mixed views on the premium gas increase
When the Minister of Finance announced in the 2012/2013 budget that there would be an increase in the price of premium gasoline from $4 to $5.75 per litre this caused mixed reactions from the general public. The average man was crying out whilst some of the country's analysts and intellectuals saw the increase in the gasoline price to be a good idea as it would eventually mean an eroding away of the $4 billion dollar fuel subsidy that Government funds.
Some of those who supported the increase even asked that Government, consider a reduction of the gas subsidy on all types of fuel, and not only premium gasoline and justified their position by stating this was necessary if the country was to be productive and competitive in order to compete on the global market. They also argued that the increased fuel prices would act as a deterrent with respect to the quantum of environmental pollution that our country suffers.
On the other hand, those who were against the increase justified their position by stating the subsidy is an invented myth and the gas belonged to the people of Trinidad and Tobago so they should get it at a reduced price. They also argued that any further increase in fuel prices would drive inflation rates up.
During the oil boom years of the 1970s, the purpose of the fuel subsidies was to use our limited energy resources to encourage and create an industrial nation that could compete on the world economy, feed itself and not be dependent on non renewable energy or sources of energy from foreign countries.
Truth be told, our gas reserves are running out and there does exist a gas subsidy (from since the oil boom days) now costing Government approximately $4.8 billion. This means that sooner or later the forces of demand and supply would eventually force the price of fuel upwards, to the extent that no Government subsidy would suffice, to ensure that citizens get fuel below the price of $15 a litre.
Consequently, the price of fuel, would ultimately increase over $10 a litre so instead of citizens waking up one morning and feeling the full brunt of the economic reality of being dependent on a non renewable, limited form of energy; they instead get the opportunity, courtesy their government, to feel the harsh reality of high world fuel prices in small pinches while adjusting and preparing themselves to eventually pay the said world prices for fuel when their wells run dry.