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Fuel Price Hike Raises Concern

China raised gasoline and diesel prices for the fifth time this year on Saturday. Many city residents say they can understand the reasons why the price has to go up, but still felt a little concerned about just how far it would go.

The price of gasoline and diesel was lifted to record highs of 250 and 300 yuan (US$31 to 37) per ton respectively. The retail price rose accordingly.

The price hike has an immediate impact on people who rely on their cars for business and is expected to particularly impact taxi drivers. In Shanghai, a taxi driver will lose an average of 300 yuan (US$37) a month. Some major taxi companies say they are facing difficulties in finding enough drivers because the low income is driving away employees.

The city residents who own a car are also feeling the pinch.

This time the price rise is relatively large. I usually fill 50 liters every time, and now need to pay an extra 10 yuan.

Some car owners expressed concerns about further price rises, with fuel costs accounting for as much as a third of what they spend on their cars. Some drivers who were planning long distance drive during the holidays or weekend, say they may now opt for the train.

Analysts say high oil prices could also have a negative impact on vehicle sales, with some people delaying their purchase hoping, perhaps, the price of oil will one day come down again.

(CCTV.com July 25, 2005)

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