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Rush to beat new fuel tax


SHERIA BRATHWAITE

Rush to beat new fuel tax

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It was as if a hurricane was approaching. That was how one petrol station retailer described Saturday night’s rush by motorists to fill up their tanks before the new fuel tax took effect.

Last month, Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced in her Mini-Budget that a new fuel tax of 40 cents per litre would replace road tax from July 1. As a result, gas now sells for $3.96 per litre and diesel at $3.21 per litre.

In an attempt to beat the increase, Barbadians rushed to fill their tanks before midnight.

Adrian Hurley, retailer of Esso Black Rock, said there were long lines at his gas station.

“Everyone wanted a full tank. Some people also came and filled up their generators and walked with portable gas containers. It was as if a hurricane notice was announced,” he said.

Lamonte Trotman, who was filling his tank there, said at first he jumped for joy at the fact that he would not have to pay road tax. But he felt, as the months go by, that the amount of money he spent in gas might tally to more than what he paid in road tax.

Jet ski owner/operator Jamal Lambert said his business would be negatively affected by the increase.

“Before, it took me $200 to full the tank and now it is taking me $270. A ride for 30 minutes ranges from $100 to $120 and it is already hard negotiating that price. So to tell someone to pay $160 or more is impossible, which means I would be operating at a loss,” he said.

A woman, who identified herself as Krysta, said she was happy that road tax was a thing of the past, but added that over time, she would feel the impact of the fuel increase.

Over at Sol Warrens, attendant Rashena Ward said things started to get busier after 7 p.m., adding that motorists did not put in the usual $20 worth of gas.

But Marcus Moore, who was there, said he would rather pay an extra 36 cents to contribute to the island’s economy than for the dollar to be devalued.

Gas attendants at Rubis, Fontabelle, described the rush Saturday night as hectic, adding that motorists were pulling up to the station after closing hours.

There, Trevor Fenty said it would take a while for Barbadians to determine if the tax fulfilled its purpose or not, noting that if it wasn’t a tax on fuel, a levy would have been placed on something else. (SB)

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