President Guillermo Lasso announced Tuesday that the government will maintain the price of diesel fuel and regular gasoline at current levels. “We are not going to raise the price of basic fuels so everybody can calm down,” he said in Guayaquil.
The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (Conaie) said that maintaining the freeze on fuel prices is a “red line” in a series of demands it made to the government in November. Conaie leadership still wants a roll-back to January 2021 prices but Lasso did not address the demand.
The price of Extra or Ecopais gasoline will continue at the fixed rate of $2.55 a gallon while diesel is frozen at $1.90 a gallon. Those prices were established in the last price increase, in October.
The cost per gallon of high-octane gasoline, or Super, is unaffected by the freeze and its price will continue to be determined by the market. It currently costs $3.40 a gallon.
With the president’s announcement, both former president Lenin Moreno and Lasso have given in to the demands of Conaie, transportation companies and labor unions. Both presidents had originally supported allowing the price of gasoline and diesel fuel rise to rise to international market levels. “We have to consider the unique circumstances in our country,” Lasso last week, answering a reporter’s question about fuel prices. “I believe in following the guidance of markets but sometimes this is not possible.”
Following Lasso’s announcement, Conaie President Leonardo Iza said his organization will evaluate its options. “We have many disagreements with this government and fuel prices is just one of them,” he said. “National mobilizations remain a strong possibility in the fight for the rights of the people.”
In October, Conaie sponsored a nationwide strike, with fuel prices being the primary issue. While the protest disrupted travel in some areas of the country, it failed to gain the support organizers had hoped for and was called off after two days.