Malawi’s chances of maintaining prevailing fuel prices in the foreseeable future seem in doubt going by global trends whereby retail petrol and diesel prices have been soaring to records high in many economies across the globe this week.
Just last week, Zambia and Botswana saw fuel prices go up in reaction to these global trends. Other economies like South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia have already adjusted prices once or more since January.
The last time Malawi adjusted fuel prices was on October 10, 2021 and has stuck to that pricing structure despite movements in other markets.
The skyrocketing fuel prices have come about due to economic and political risks posed by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia and the sanctions that have been effected by United States and Europe.
Economic analysts in financial centres across the world say they expect economies to continue suffer and fuel prices to soar. Global fuel supply chains have been heavily affected by the sanctions.
Livia Gallarati, oil markets analyst at Energy Aspects told the Reuters Global Markets Forum recently that fuel prices will be unstable both in developed and developing nations if the escalations in Eastern Europe prolong.
The United States recently imposed a ban on all oil imports from Russia which is the world’s third biggest producer, as retaliation for Moscow’s invasion of its neighbor. Britain is also considering phasing imports from Russia.
Experts fear that if more stringent actions are imposed upon Russia, and five million barrels a day is truly taken out of the market, then oil prices would really have no ceiling.”
Analysts at JP Morgan Chase & Co and Bank of America have predicted disruptions to Russian oil flows could push oil prices to $185 to $200 per barrel.
Behavioral scientists in developed nations are proposing various ways for economies to cut reliance on and consumption of fuel.
For instance, the scientists say, motorists may first consider cutting other expenses to afford to pay for fuel.
Other changes may include reduced driving through measures like carpooling or working from home, to reduced spending on other goods and services, or by accelerating a shift to more efficient or all-electric vehicles.
Here at home, President Lazarus Chakwera has been advocating for quick adoption of green technologies that if well entrenched may in future help in cutting overreliance on fuels.
A couple of weeks ago, the President hosted a team of young engineers who are assembling electric motorcycles in Lilongwe. He urged them to shore up production capacity so that Malawians should start utilizing this new technology for transportation.