San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Fuel

Fuel prices in Costa Rica to remain stable through 2016, says RECOPE

The Costa Rican Oil Refinery (RECOPE) delivered motorists good news as its most recent projections say fuel prices next year will remain similar to those registered this month.

RECOPE’s director of economic and financial studies, Luis Solera, on Monday said that projected behavior of international oil prices as well as stability in the dollar exchange rate here would favor stable prices throughout the year, despite seasonal variations recorded every year.

Solera joined executive president Sara Salazar and development manager Leonel Altamirano during the delivery of RECOPE’s annual report, in which they said prices of gasoline and diesel in 2015 were the lowest in the past five years in Costa Rica.

A liter of “Plus” gasoline reached its highest price of ₡642 ($1.19) in August and its lowest of ₡503 ($0.93) in February. Currently the per-liter price is ₡536 ($0.99).

The current per-liter price of diesel, ₡449 ($0.93), is the lowest of the year, while ₡522 ($0.97) in January was the highest.

Solera said officials believe price stability could extend through 2018 as international forecasts point toward a similar stable scenario for at least two more years.

RECOPE’s analysis concluded that actions from major oil exporters to maintain their market share “caused a surplus in oil production whose most noticeable result was a 25 percent decrease in oil prices from those registered in 2014.”

The agency noted that its projection is supported by data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration stating that the surplus likely will favor prices to remain low through all of 2016.

More vehicles

RECOPE officials also reported increased consumption of gasoline and diesel by 6 percent over 2014. Motorists this year consumed 17.1 million barrels of gasoline, up from 16 million in 2014.

However, the agency concluded the spike was not caused by increased consumption but an increase in the number of vehicles circulating in the country.

Refinery experts also said low oil prices on international markets saved motorists some cash.

Stable prices in Plus gasoline this year helped vehicle owners spend on average ₡380,000 ($705) less than they did in 2014. Users of Super gasoline saved ₡301,000 ($558), and diesel consumers saved ₡348,000 ($646), according to the report.

The agency also said that fuel sales for thermal generation of electricity decreased this year by 94 percent, mostly due to rainfall levels registered since mid-2014 that favored clean energy generation through September of this year.

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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