Gasoline cylinder turns into dearer after worth lower at refinery
According to dealers, high reflects transfer of salary readjustments
Petrobras cut the price of cooking gas sold by its refineries by 4.7% last Monday (12), but the price of cylinders at resales rose during the week, according to the ANP price survey (Agência National Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels).
The increase was 1.2%, with the 13-kilogram cylinder, most used by households, from R$111.91 to R$113.25, in the national average. It was the third consecutive week of increases, although the percentages were much lower in previous weeks.
The evolution last week contradicts Petrobras’ forecast, which calculated an average reduction of R$ 2.60 per cylinder. Resellers of the product allege that they had to initiate transfers of the salary readjustment of their workers.
Companies and unions are still negotiating the readjustment percentage, but Abragás, an entity that brings together resellers’ unions, says that the transfer has already been made because the base date of the category is the 1st of September.
The entity’s president, José Luiz Rocha, claims that the amounts must be paid retroactively when negotiations are not concluded in the month of the agreement and, therefore, resellers are already including the cost increase in their prices.
Workers ask for inflation to be replaced by the INPC plus 2.3% for previous losses in salaries of employees who receive above the floor. At the last meeting, the distribution companies presented a proposal for a readjustment of 8.83%, which reflects the 12-month variation of the INPC.
Shortly after the announcement of the cut in the refineries, Abragás released a note saying that “possibly consumers will not perceive a reduction in prices, due to the increase passed on by the distributors regarding the collective bargaining agreement and cost of other operating costs in the segment”.
Sindigás, a union that represents the distribution segment, says only that prices “are free in all links in the chain and susceptible to market variations”.
“Consumers are recommended to always do a research before making the purchase, in order to seek the best combination of service and price, always taking into account their relationship of trust with their brand and resale preference”, he says.
The rise in the price of the cylinder frustrates the expectations of the government, which has been using the drop in fuel prices as an asset in the campaign for the reelection of President Jair Bolsonaro (PL).
Unlike gasoline, ethanol and, to a lesser extent, diesel, cooking gas did not have a large price reduction after the government’s offensive to cut fuel taxes, as federal taxes on the product were zeroed in 2020.
Since the peaks reached in the last week of June, gasoline and diesel are already 32.1% and 9.6% cheaper, respectively. The average price of hydrous ethanol dropped 29.5% in the same period. On the other hand, the price of the 13-kilo bottle was oscillating around R$ 112.
At the end of 2021, the government approved a subsidy program for low-income consumers, called Auxílio-Gás, but the drop in cylinder sales signals that the benefit was not being used only for the purchase of cylinders.
In the first half, sales of 13-kilogram cylinders fell by 4.5% compared to the same period of the previous year. The volume sold is lower than that recorded in 2019, before the pandemic.
In August, the government increased the value of the subsidy, from 50% to 100% of the price of a cylinder. The amount is paid every two months to around 5.7 million families.