Home / News Type Content Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Drivers Down in the Pumps
Adjust font size:

"It is nothing more than a bowl of noodles to me," said a driver with the Jinjiang Taxi Company in Shanghai after learning that petrol prices had dropped slightly on Tuesday morning.

Like millions of the nation's drivers, news of small savings at the pumps was met with a mixture of indifference and disdain.

Driving an average 400-kilometres every day, the cabbie uses about 40 liters of petrol. The price drop of 90-octane petrol from 3.66 yuan (44 US cents) per liter to 3.54 yuan (39 US cents) could help him save 5 yuan (60 US cents) a day -- the price of a bowl of noodles.

"It means nothing important to me," the driver said, who shares the car with a colleague. The pair leases the car from the cab company for 12,000 yuan (US$1,449) a month. Each earns about 3,000 to 4,000 yuan (US$362-483) a month.

In real terms, savings as a result of the price reduction will be nominal. In Shanghai, the price of 93-octane petrol fell from 3.98 yuan (48 US cents) per liter to 3.85 (46 US cents), and in Beijing it fell from 3.92 yuan (47 US cents) to 3.79 (45.5 US cents).

Feng Jianhai, manager of Sinopec's Refueling Station on the Chengdu North Road in downtown Shanghai, agreed that the price difference was minimal.

"A number of taxi drivers waited at the gate until midnight when the price was due to change, but not that many," Feng said. "Consumers are numb now from frequent price upswings."

His station sells about 40 tons of gasoline a day. But he said the price of liquefied petroleum gas is also expected to drop soon.

"Judging from experience, gas prices will run parallel with that of petrol," Feng said, adding that the drop would probably also be marginal.

"The indifference to the price drop is understandable, as most consumption in Shanghai involves public vehicles," said Wang Qihua, a senior official with Sinochem Shanghai.

In Beijing, where according to statistics from the end of last year, about half of the city's 2.6 million vehicles are privately owned, the price cut came as good news.

Even so, a nationwide survey of at least 20,000 people by sina.com.cn indicated that an overwhelming majority thought petrol prices in China are still higher than they should be.

About two-thirds of those surveyed said the current price drop is simply a reaction to international price fluctuations. They said they also expect diesel prices, which have been steadily rising in China, to go down.

After the government had raised the price of petrol by 300 yuan (US$35) a ton in March, Tuesday's price cut surprised many oil traders.

"We did not expect the government to adjust prices so quickly," said one market observer. "The government is concerned the oil price hike may induce inflation."

Chinese oil companies will have to bear the brunt of the price cut, which will further squeeze their profits. Oil refining companies were already struggling after the government refused to allow them to pass the effects of the last hike in crude oil prices on to consumers.

(China Daily May 25, 2005)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
- Oil Prices Follow Global Market Rises
- Price Hikes for Gasoline, Diesel
- World Oil Price Spike Hits Chinese Market
- China Seeks Ways to Cope with Oil Price Rise
- Gov't Freezes Retail Oil Prices
- Gas Retail Prices Rise
- Gasoline Price Cut Announced
Most Viewed >>
- World's longest sea-spanning bridge to open
- Yao out for season with stress fracture in left foot
- 141 seriously polluting products blacklisted
- China starts excavation for world's first 3G nuclear plant
- Irresponsible remarks on Hu Jia case opposed 
- 'The China Riddle'
- China, US agree to step up constructive,cooperative relations
- FIT World Congress: translators on track
- Christianity popular in Tang Dynasty
- Factory fire kills 15, injures 3 in Shenzhen

Product Directory
China Search
Country Search
Hot Buys