Cooking gas prices fall to 6-year low on cheaper crude oil

Cooking gas in Kenya
Oil marketers have been agitating for more stringent checks on unlicensed gas operators. PHOTO/FILE
Cooking gas prices in Nairobi and major Kenyan towns dropped to a six-year low last month thanks to cheaper crude oil costs.

Official statistics show that a 13-kilogramme gas cylinder was being sold at an average Sh2,268 in April, down from Sh2,277 in March and Sh2, 343 in January. The price of the 13kg cylinder has dropped by Sh657 over the past one year.

The April gas price was the lowest since 2010 and reflects the effect of the drop in crude oil prices and fierce competition among retailers.

The price of the 13kg cylinder has dropped by Sh657 (21 per cent) over the last one year.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), which released the figures, did not indicated the price of a 6kg cylinder but the same is retailing for as low as Sh780 in some outlets in Nairobi and Mombasa.

READ: Overview of cooking gas business in Kenya

But even with the significant drop in prices, consumption of cooking gas among Kenyans has declined by nearly half – an indication that many households are turning to alternative sources of fuel such as kerosene and charcoal.

According to KNBS, Kenyans are currently consuming a monthly average of 5,000 tonnes of gas down from 8,000 tonnes early last year.

Between January and March, Kenyans consumed about 31,100 tonnes of the fuel compared to the 100,000 tonnes consumed during a similar period last year.

Gas prices are not regulated by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) unlike the other petroleum fuels and have been left to market forces, amid complains of illegal gas re-filling and branding in the market.

Oil marketers have been agitating for more stringent checks on unlicensed gas operators, whom they accuse of undercutting through irregular refilling.

Through the Petroleum Institute of East Africa, the oil marketers recently claimed that seven out of 10 gas cylinders in the market are illegally refilled, posing a grave danger to households.