Diesel may be capped at B30, but not truckers' B25, says minister

Diesel may be capped at B30, but not truckers' B25, says minister

Trucks park on the Bang Na-Trat Highway in Bang Phli district, Samut Prakan, before setting out in slow convoy on Tuesday to support demands that the government cap the diesel price at 25 baht a litre. The present price is around 30 baht. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
Trucks park on the Bang Na-Trat Highway in Bang Phli district, Samut Prakan, before setting out in slow convoy on Tuesday to support demands that the government cap the diesel price at 25 baht a litre. The present price is around 30 baht. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

The price of diesel could be capped at 30 baht a litre at the pump, but not the 25 baht demanded by truckers, Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said on Tuesday.

He was speaking after a meeting with representatives of the Land Transport Federation of Thailand at Government House on Tuesday.

The federation wants the government to cut the price of diesel to offset the increasingly hgh cost of operations as global crude oil prices rise. The present pump price is around 30 baht.

Mr Supattanapong, also a deputy prime minister, said a possible solution was to limit the price of high-speed diesel to 30 baht per litre through the National Energy Policy Council. High-speed diesel is the most commonly used, he said.

Mr Supattanapong said truck operators wanted a lower price because they did not want to raise transport charges. He accepted their position for consideration and would also brief Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, he said.

"Local oil prices are based on global prices. If the price decreases, local oil prices will follow," Mr Supattanapong said. He attributed the rising price to growing demand in countries facing winter. The price should improve now the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries had announced an increase in production, he said.

Mr Supattanapong said the government already bore the cost of limiting the prices of cooking gas, electricity and natural gas to keep down the cost of living. 

On Tuesday members of the Land Transport Federation drove about 1,000 trucks in slow procession along main roads in many provinces, including on Bangkok's outskirts, to emphasise their demand for diesel price control.

The truck convoys were on parts of Rama II Highway in Ratchaburi, Samut Songkhram and Samut Sakhon provinces; Borommaratchachonnani and Phuttha Monthon Roads in Bangkok and Nakhon Pathom; Highway 32 in Ayutthaya, Sing Buri, Nakhon Sawan and Chai Nat; Bang Na-Trat Highway in Samut Prakan; Highway 3 in Chon Buri; and a bypass in  Ubon Ratchathani.

The federation wants the government to suspend the inclusion of a contribution to the Energy Fund in the pump price of diesel for one year, and reduce excise tax on oil by five baht per litre.

Meanwhile, oil retailers PTT and Bangchak Corporation announced they would reduce the price of high-speed diesel by 0.20 baht per litre to 29.04 baht on Wednesday morning.

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