Kenya now has the 12th costliest fuel in Africa following the recent price review that increased pump charges by up to Sh21.32 per litre.
A litre of diesel jumped by Sh21.32 to Sh200.99 ($1.37) in Nairobi while that of super petrol rose by Sh16.96 to Sh211.64 ($1.4) in the wake of high taxes and a sharply falling shilling.
A comparison of fuel prices across Africa shows that Kenya only trails the Central African Republic (CAR), Malawi, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, and seven other countries in terms of the most expensive fuel.
Kenya doubled Value Added Tax (VAT) on fuel to 16 percent from July 1 this year, which coupled with the free-falling local currency, continued rally in global prices of refined fuel, and scrapping of stabilisation scheme have combined to send pump prices to record highs.
Energy Cabinet Secretary Davies Chirchir last week warned of painful days ahead at the pump further dashing hopes for millions of consumers already pushed to the brink by the soaring cost of living.
“We are dealing with several governments and the suppliers of these products. We are likely to be going to even harder times,” Mr Chirchir told lawmakers last week.
CAR has the most expensive diesel in Africa at Sh320.49 ($2.2) per litre followed by Zimbabwe at Sh256.39 ($1.76). In Blantyre, the capital city of Malawi, a litre of diesel is going for Sh253.48 ($1.74) with Seychelles the fifth most expensive at Sh247.65 ($1.7) per litre.
Pump prices for super petrol are highest in CAR at Sh260.67 ($1.79) per litre followed by Seychelles where a litre is retailing at Sh247.65 ($1.7). A litre of super petrol is retailing at Sh240.37 ($1.65) in Zimbabwe and Sh233 ($1.6) per litre in Dakar, Senegal.
The shilling plunged to 148.98 units to the dollar in the latest exchange rate used to set the pump prices compared to 123.88 units a year ago, while crude prices— a key determinant of refined fuel prices— have been rising in recent months. Record-high pump prices in Kenya have prompted some Kenyans at the border towns to cross over into Tanzania in search of cheaper fuel.
In Tanzania, a litre of diesel is retailing at Sh189.38 ($1.3) while that of super petrol is going for Sh186.47 ($1.28). In Rwanda, diesel and super petrol are going for Sh180.64 ($1.24) and Sh198 ($1.36) respectively.
Kenya tied with Uganda in the cost of diesel with a litre going for Sh203 ($1.4), despite the neighbouring country importing its fuel through the Port of Mombasa.
Taxes and levies account for Sh79.31 in every litre of super, followed by Sh67.35 a litre of diesel— the most used fuel in the Kenyan economy.
The Treasury has over the years resisted attempts to reduce taxation on fuel while Parliament has also failed to adopt recommendations by one of its committees to cut VAT on petroleum products to four percent and reduce petroleum development levy from Sh5.40 to Sh2.50 per litre.