The Regulatory Authority of Public Services (ARESEP) recently approved a significant fuel price increase proposed by the Costa Rican Oil Refinery (RECOPE), eliciting frustration from citizens already burdened by the rising cost of living.
With ARESEP’s endorsement, super gasoline will climb by ₡23 ($0.043) per liter to ₡810 ($1.51), regular gasoline by ₡36 ($0.067) per liter to ₡780 ($1.46), and diesel will jump ₡71 ($0.13) per liter to ₡705 ($1.32). Gas cylinders will also increase by ₡37 ($0.069) to ₡6,816 ($12.72).
Despite RECOPE blaming ARESEP for instigating the surge, ARESEP’s adjustments account for international acquisition expenses which have remained relatively stable. The prior super gasoline import cost of ₡419.59 ($0.78) per liter dropped to ₡410.26 ($0.77), nearly ₡10 ($0.019) less. Regular gasoline import costs fell ₡3.54 ($0.0066) per liter.
Yet in spite of the marginal difference in import prices, ARESEP approved the significant pump price increases, likely due to methodological errors in projections. This has provoked intense criticism from citizens already struggling with rising inflation.
Energy expert Alejandra Morales noted global factors like decreased output by Russia and Saudi Arabia also played a role in lifting international oil prices. But she asserted the mismatch between RECOPE inventory expenses and sales prices has artificially inflated costs for Costa Ricans.
RECOPE contends ARESEP’s delays in resolving tariffs have imposed major fiscal burdens, forcing pump prices up. The state refinery’s president, Juan Manuel Quesada, said promptly addressing the discrepancies could have prevented such dramatic domestic price variances from global markets.
As Ticos confront yet another squeeze on household budgets, patience wears thin over pricing distortions in the hydrocarbons market. Costa Ricans expect more accountability and urgent action from regulators to stabilize fuel costs.
ARESEP must refine its projections methodology while improving synchronization with RECOPE to control inflationary impacts on consumers. Failure to do so risks further economic hardship for citizens least able to absorb the rising tide of fuel prices.