OfReg opens discussion on fuel labelling

| 03/04/2019 | 11 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): The Utility Regulation and Competition Office (OfReg) is turning its attention to how gas stations are labelling and dispensing fuel and has published a discussion paper on how the companies can prevent customers from pumping the wrong gas. The regulator said the aim is to protect consumers by reducing the likelihood of drivers dispensing incorrect fuel, which can be dangerous, damaging, costly and time consuming to correct. Officials said the paper is designed to “ignite debate” with the public and the fuel sector ahead of a formal consultation.

Taking a leaf out of the industry standards book in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, the regulator is suggesting that gas station pumps, signs and promotional material are better labelled with the type and grade of fuel available. OfReg is also seeking to standardise colour coding of dispensing hoses to denote types and grade of fuel as well as nozzle sizing by type of fuel.

OfReg said it was committed to ensuring that the public has access to clear and unambiguous information when purchasing goods and services in the sectors under its purview. It warned that it is currently possible that vague claims about fuel quality by providers could lead to drivers being misled when buying fuel, even if that was not the intention of the fuel company.

Duke Munroe, OfReg Executive Director of Fuels, said the proposals would benefit consumers and the industry.

“Our efforts over the years to reduce instances of improper or misfuelling across the retail network has produced some results, but the problem still persists due to a number of factors, including fuelling mechanisms fitted on various vehicle types which are being imported. OfReg is urging members of the public and those in industry to have their say,” he said.

The feedback received will be used to inform a future formal consultation. The regulator said that the standardised labelling of fuel dispensing equipment would also support competition between brands, in line with OfReg’s statutory obligation in this area.

The issue of competition and how gas pump prices are worked out remains the single most important area covered by OfReg’s remit, but several years after its establishment, there are still unanswered questions about prices.

The regulator has claimed to have put pressure on fuel providers however over gas prices  and back in December Munroe said OfReg had intervened last year to persuade suppliers to drop the price by more than they had intended and sooner than planned.

See the best gas price guide on CNS Local Life

There has been much criticism here in the Cayman Islands about local gas prices in light of world oil price. Drivers note that they increase immediately when the global oil rate goes up but take several weeks to drop when the oil rate goes down.

OfReg is still researching the local market, which involves the aviation supply and CUC as well as fuel at the pump. It has not yet said whether it will need to eventually step in with the ‘nuclear option’ of price controls.

Anyone wishing to take part in the public discussion can read the full paper here and submit their comments to OfReg by 5pm on 16 April via email, or mail to
PO Box 2502
KY1- 1104
or by hand to 3rd Floor, Alissta Towers 85 North Sound Rd

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Comments (11)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hate to admit it, but I filled up a full tank of diesel thinking I was getting gas. Luckily, I noticed it when I pulled the nozzle out and didn’t start the engine. The pump handles were all the same colour and the nozzle sizes were the same. There was a diesel sign attached to the hose at the top but I missed it.
    The owner was there and was very nice and apologetic even though it really was my fault. The next time I went there the diesel sign was moved down in plain view.
    I know a few people that did the same thing. In other countries the diesel nozzle is larger than the gasoline nozzle and won’t fit in the tank. Protection for numb skulls like me.

  2. Anonymous says:

    how about we regulate the quality of fuel we are receiving? Lets do a study on the quality of fuel in those pumps. Would be interesting to see how many catalytic converters the poor gas quality has destroyed prematurely. Some dealers do not bring in certain cars, because the fuel does not meet the requirements of the engine

  3. Anonymous says:

    ofreg….busy trying to look busy as usual.
    sack them all.
    asked before…how many masons are in ofreg?

    • Johnny Rotten says:

      And they don’t even have a clue how to lay a block, let alone earn an honest dollar for a hard days work

  4. Anonymous says:

    Pretty sure they could introduce a proprietary reporting system showing X gallons imported on Y date at z price – then show sales against this until the purchase is finished, then the next purchase etc. While a free market would be against imposing price regulation … this reporting would at least ensure that gas purchased at a higher prices is sold at a higher price, and when a lower price is paid … and that stock begins to be sold, a lower price is introduced.

  5. Anonymous says:

    A discussion paper on fuel labeling?
    Isn’t this the sort of thing that they should be hiring consultants for?

    • Gasman says:

      12.03pm Sorry but your naivety is extreme, who do you think produced the discussion paper?, they have nobody in the office to do it as they are all out on training courses.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Soooo … we need public discussion, followed by supplier consultation, and then a rule to say that the hoses should be properly labeled for Diesel, premium and other types of fuel?

    Clear labels are already at all the service stations that I visit, I am not sure which ones OfReg is going to and becoming confused. In any event, is this such a controversial move that we need a consultation to ask someone to do something that is essentially common sense? Jeesh, come on Duke, there are other ways for your office to give the appearance of relevance.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Giant waste of time and money. How will this lower fuel prces? Answer, it won’t, it’s another cost to pass on to the customer.

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