Diesel: instability at the beginning of 2024 puts pressure on road transport and could increase product prices

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The average price of diesel in the country rose again in the first week of 2024.



Per Pauline Machado

Published 02/02/2024 to the 3:00 p.m.

The increase in the price of diesel in 2024 may be influenced by a series of factors. Photo: jukai5 for Depositphotos

Representing a considerable portion of companies’ operating costs, in Brazil, fuel comprises, on average, 35% of total road freight transport expenses. Petrobras, at the end of 2023, announced a reduction in the price of diesel for distributors by R$0.30, equivalent to 7.9%. However, the average price of diesel oil in the country rose again in the first week of 2024, being sold to consumers at gas stations for R$ 5.89, on average, putting an end to eight consecutive weeks of falling prices. diesel.

Given this situation, the project coordinator at the Instituto Paulista do Transporte de Cargas – IPTC, Raquel Serini, explains that the increase in the price of diesel at the beginning of the year can be attributed to the reintroduction of a set of federal taxes (PIS/Cofins) on fuel after the temporary reduction in federal rates in 2022.

“Although Petrobras announced cuts in sales prices at refineries, the tax refund resulted in an increase of R$0.03 per liter at stations, marking the first increase since November. Even though part of the increase in the tax burden was offset by the last cut in refineries, the trend for 2024 will depend on government policies in relation to fuel taxes”, he assesses.

The coordinator also highlights that the aforementioned increase in the price of diesel is influenced by a series of factors. They are: the price of oil, the exchange rate, tax burden, logistical costs, Petrobras’ pricing policy and also demand and supply.

According to Serini, to deal with these frequent changes, companies usually try to adjust the prices they charge for transportation. Doing so, however, every time the price of diesel changes can, according to her, cause the loss of customers, who seek cost stability. In this scenario, she assesses how companies should deal with these changes without constantly increasing prices. “Some strategies include investing in technologies and practices to use fuel more efficiently and find smarter routes. Using more economical vehicles is also important to keep costs under control in the face of constant changes in diesel prices,” she considers.

Finally, the project coordinator at the Instituto Paulista do Transporte de Cargas reinforces that a viable mechanism for greater stability in fuels in the coming years would be to change the tax rates that apply to fuels linked to changes in the price of a barrel.

“In addition, creating effective and financially advantageous incentives for the presence of renewable sources, such as electrification, would reduce dependence on diesel, increasing supply and moving the market, bringing price reductions”, he ponders and concludes.

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Diesel instability beginning puts pressure road transport increase product prices

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