Why fuel price hike spells doom for Moyale petrol stations

Why fuel price hike spells doom for Moyale petrol stations
Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The recent increase in fuel prices has sent filling station businesses in Moyale into a death spiral.

Speaking to the Nation, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Moyale chapter chairperson Ahmed Ali said the stations face imminent collapse as motorists will likely opt to refuel their vehicles in neighbouring Ethiopia.

"We are just at the beginning of the slow death of many fuel stations in Moyale, as many motorists cross the border into Ethiopia to refill their vehicles because fuel prices in Kenya are twice those in the neighbouring country," he said.

Many locals have resorted to buying cheaper fuel in Ethiopia, where one litre of petrol costs only Sh75 while diesel goes for Sh50. One litre of petrol now sells for Sh141 in Moyale.

Mr Ali cited the case of a recently established Rubis station, whose management has begun feeling the heat of losses, with motorists crossing the border, only two kilometres away, to refuel.

For instance, on Thursday, only five government vehicles sought services at the station.

He wondered why Ethiopia, a landlocked country, does not have unstable fuel prices compared with Kenya.

He appealed to the government to step in and save citizens from job losses.

Meanwhile, in Marsabit town, about three hours away by car, the business community has decried the exorbitant fuel prices.

Taxi and boda boda operators said they are suffering, citing loss of income as their clients are not willing to pay higher rates.

Taxi driver Omar Yayo held that their daily income had decreased drastically because of higher fuel prices.

Wolde Adan, a petrol station operator in Marsabit, said many travellers were grappling with the effects of higher fuel prices, with petrol rising from Sh134.9 to Sh142.5. Diesel prices also shot up, from Sh115.5 to Sh123.4.