Fuel prices across gas stations in Morocco have recently seen a notable surge since the beginning of October.
This rise is expected to lead to a potential increase in prices of certain consumer goods, especially those that require transportation.
The impact of this surge in fuel prices became evident, particularly for gasoline. The price per liter of diesel has gone above 14 dirhams, with the rise varying between 45 cents and half a dirham at different fuel stations in Rabat and the neighboring city of Sale. This increase is expected to have an impact on consumer prices in other cities across the country.
The prices of regular gasoline and premium, in contrast, remained unchanged at around 15 dirhams and half a dirhams per liter. These fuel price hikes mark unprecedented levels compared to earlier this year, with a total of five increases in August 2023, according to the National Union of Fuel Station Owners, Traders, and Operators in Morocco.
“Station owners have no control over the pricing of gasoline and premium gasoline nor with the recent price hikes,” reiterated Jamal Zarikoum, Head of the National Union of Gas Station Owners, Merchants, and Managers in Morocco, in a statement to MoroccoLatestNews.
He further highlighted that fuel station owners, along with the consumer, are among the most affected by these price hikes.
“The cost of transportation for these fuels has significantly increased, leading to an automatic rise in expenses,” explained Zarikoum, stressing, “The profit margin for fuel station owners remains unchanged, regardless of whether fuel prices go up or down.”
The Head of the National Union of Gas Station Owners, Merchants, and Managers underscored that they had previously reached out to the Competition Council multiple times, requesting them to intervene and take legal action concerning this issue.
He also criticized the delay in issuing the implementation of the Hydrocarbons Law, which has fueled the chaos in the sector to some extent.
“We addressed the Ministry of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, alerting them during our previous meetings to the seriousness of this matter and its negative repercussions on the fuel market. However, the minister ignored this correspondence and disregarded a joint committee that was working on drafting these regulations,” Zarikoum expressed his disappointment.
In this regard, He called all stakeholders in the fuel industry, including import and distribution companies, fuel station owners, and transport companies, to meet and discuss the sector’s challenges and expedite the release of the regulatory texts.
The Head of the National Union concluded the interview with MoroccoLatestNews, by explaining that the proposal put forward by fuel station owners in Morocco is still clear.
The proposal suggests, “the adoption of variable tax scale on fuel because it constitutes about 50% of the price structure. This means reducing the tax when prices rise and raising it when prices fall to maintain overall price stability and affordability for citizens.”
After a temporary price freeze in mid-September, fuel prices in Morocco have now surged. This comes despite the ongoing upward in international oil prices, which have been fluctuating between $90 and $100 per barrel, compared to around $72 per barrel in June.
In September, fuel distribution companies in Morocco decided to freeze the prices, which analysts attributed to the solidarity shown by Moroccans toward the earthquake victims that struck the region on Al-Haouz on September 8.
Increases in oil prices in recent months are due to production cuts by Saudi Arabia and Russia, which will last until the end of the year. These oil price hikes are further supported by the improved demand and increased refinery activity in China.
As a result, global investment banks anticipate prices reaching $100 per barrel by the end of the year.
In the third quarter of 2023, crude oil prices increased by about 30%, reaching the highest levels in 10 months, according to Reuters.