Luczon: Ten per liter

Nef Luczon

ON TUESDAY, July 11, a local oil company, Phoenix, has celebrated its 10th anniversary of its operations in the country, mostly in Mindanao areas. As gratitude to the public, it announced that for at least a day, the petroleum products will drop for as low as P10 per liter. And alas, motorists frenzied over to the stations to get the most of the promo.

As we all know, fuel prices almost dictate our economy, a slight increase may mean expensive commodities that we buy in the market, and as well as transportation fare hikes. Having P10 per liter of gasoline, at least for a day, is like living in any Middle Eastern country which overseas Filipino workers would share that the price of oil is way cheaper than purified water products, something that is quite surreal in our country that can spike its price of almost P60 per liter in some areas.

“Pwede pala.” It can be possible. Although understandably it may not go on for a week or forever since it might cause a tremendous loss of profit for the local company, but nonetheless it can be a precedent to future promos or gimmicks in the petroleum industry, similar to what Sun Cellular did to forever break the telecom industry rates.

The then Gokongwei-owned Sun Cellular made it sure that it gets an instant band of consumers patronizing their service by offering the first ever unlimited calls and texts, something Smart and Globe got caught off-guard because the rates were then at P1 per text message and with a higher rate for calls per minute (probably at an average of P5 to P10, if I recall it right). Sensing the popularity, Smart and Globe immediately prop up their promos with calls and text packages, until the time they finally give in to the “unli” promo.

Now, the big three international oil companies: Shell, Caltex, and Petron, might see Phoenix anniversary promo as a stunt for now, but it may soon get in to their nerves especially when consumers will be looking forward at it next year. The P10 per liter promo can be a precedent on how oil companies sell petroleum in the markets.

And with these, Phoenix just opened possibilities and realizations that have kept motorists and consumers ask, that other than the reason of importation and the currency exchanges between Philippine peso and United States dollars, what could be the exact reason why petroleum prices remain expensive? Now, can it be the oil cartels have been exposed on how they manipulate oil prices? Which is one way critical how would countries invade and go to war in the name of petroleum?

Fossil fuels are critical in shaping modern human societies. It not only dictates a country’s industrial development but it can influence political leanings as well as ties among other nations that sometimes result to wars.

But long have been the public’s dream that one day oil prices will be cheaper, and the hopes that one day, human societies will no longer be dependent on transportation and technologies dependent on fossil fuels but instead would rely on alternative sources of energy like water and the heat of the sun. Until now, we are still dreaming for that day to come, if only big corporations and governments are serious about it.

(nefluczon@gmail.com)