Premium fuel prices at petrol stations in Argentina’s provinces soared as high as 43.50 pesos (US$ 1.57) per litre this weekend, after the state-run energy company YPF raised its prices for a second time in less than a week.
The 43.50-peso price tag was registered in Sauce, a city with 10,000 inhabitants located 393 kilometres south of Corrientes City, which sells YPF products.
YPF raised prices by five percent on July 1 and by an additional one percent this past Saturday, July 7.
Average premium fuel products — which car companies recommend for newer models — were selling for 36.5 pesos in Sauce at the end of June. They rose to 38.5 pesos on July 1 and 43.5 pesos (US$ 1.57) five days later.
The price hikes reflect a broader problem with pricing at fuel stations in the provinces, with the prices at Sauce reflecting a 44-percent difference with the average per-litre prices that drivers pay in Buenos Aires City. (On average, drivers in the capital pay 28.11 pesos per litre for premium.)
Competition in major cities means fuel providers are forced to keep prices low, while in the provinces some towns or smaller cities rely on just one or two petrol stations.
The Energy Ministry has tried to shift the responsibility for rising prices onto fuel providers, saying pricing “is totally liberal” in Argentina.