The Cambodian street is abuzz with increasing fuel prizes, with many Cambodians aware of the recent turmoil in Arab nations as a major factor.
Uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Middle Eastern countries have worried world markets since January, pushing the price of crude beyond $100 per barrel.
In Cambodia, that has meant an increase in fuel costs of about 20 percent, from 4,000 riel, or about $1, per liter, to 5,200, or $1.20, per liter Tuesday.
In interviews, many drivers pointed toward the uprisings as the cause.
“A main reason of high oil prices comes from a wave of uprising in the Middle East and North African countries, the major oil producing nations, which is preventing oil production and oil export,” said Sun Dara, a 23-year-old student of law at the Royal University. “I’m not happy about this high oil price. Three months ago, gasoline was at a proper low price.”
Not only has the price of fuel increased, but the cost of other consumer goods, he said. This has made him drive his motor scooter less, either by walking to nearby locales or riding his bicycle.
Lim Sreng, a 57-year-old manager at a brick factory, also blamed the Arab uprisings, but he said government action too could bring it down. That meant a cost to his business, he said. “We have lost $200 to $300 a day, particularly since February.”
Motorcycle taxi driver Both Tin, 37, went further, saying he did not approve of the uprisings, since it was costing him his daily earnings. Even though fuel cost more, he cannot raise his fares.
“If I make a high price, I have no clients,” he said. “I think the oil price will be able to drop when the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle Eastern countries end.”