The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority announced an ever so slight reduction in the prices of fuel. ZERA has been reviewing the price of fuel every 5th day of the month ever since the year began so the price adjustment was not unexpected. What was unexpected is what most service stations did after the announcement. They actually went on to increase the price of fuel.

ZERA’s old versus new prices

These were the old prices i.e. prices from 5 April to 5 May 2021

ItemZWL$USD$
Blend Petrol (E10)112.961.32
Diesel111.771.34

ZERA then went on the introduce a slight decrease perhaps informed by price adjustments on the international market:

ItemZWL$USD$
Blend Petrol (E10)112.621.32
Diesel111.431.33

The price of Blend Petrol remained the same here in USD terms so it’s not clear why ZERA reduced the ZWL price not that it really matters as the chances of you finding ZWL fuel are about the same chances you have of ever setting eyes upon a pangolin in your lifetime.

Service stations do the opposite

ZERA of course allows service stations to sell fuel below these prices and almost everyone does. Not many people can afford to pay these ridiculous ceiling prices and now that supply has and improved we have intense competition among service stations. We haven’t seen a service stations that’s selling fuel above US$.125 per litre this year.

Most service stations were selling fuel at US$1.22 per litre for service stations in the CBD and near busy roads and highways with bulk sellers and those in industrial areas and offroad sites selling at an average of US$1.15 for Diesel and US$1.20 for blend petrol. That’s the other anomally, while ZERA insists on pricing Diesel above Petrol the opposite happens in reality for a number of reasons including less demand for diesel now that Kombis are banned.

After the announcement we observed that starting yesterday service stations had actually increased their prices by 1 US cent. Those in the CBD were charging an average of US$1.23 for both diesel and blend petrol (who said there is logic in these prices) and those in less busy and industrial areas were selling diesel for about US$1.16 and blend petrol for US$1.21 per litre.

It’s not clear what could have prompted this increase in prices although it could be linked to something that happened on roughly the same day. The Zimbabwean government further opened up the economy and service stations might have figured that this would lead to an uptick in demand for their product resulting in them effecting the slight hike in prices.

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