DeLeon Guerrero pushes $500 fuel vouchers due to soaring fuel prices
Sen. Edith E. DeLeon Guerrero (D-Saipan) pre-filed Monday a resolution requesting Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig to provide financial assistance to meet the increasing fuel costs in the CNMI by implementing a $500 fuel voucher program.
In response to Saipan Tribune’s request for comment about the Senate Joint Resolution 22-08 that she pre-filed, DeLeon Guerrero said Tuesday that the rising costs of fuel, whether at the pump or the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.’s Fuel Adjustment Charge, is adding more financial stress on individuals and families.
She said the CNMI government can and should provide this much needed assistance however best it could with either direct American Rescue Plan Act funds or from funds that can be “backfilled” by ARPA.
“Simply, families should not be placed in any more financially stressful conditions,” the senator said.
She stated in the resolution that in addition to the various hardships imposed by the economic turmoil caused by the global pandemic, CNMI residents are also facing substantial increases in fuel prices.
She noted that in 2021, the Commonwealth’s fuel cost was $5.17 per gallon on Saipan, $6.11 per gallon on Tinian, and $5.77 per gallon on Rota, while the 2021 national fuel price average was $3.36, according to the American Automobile Association.
The senator said this year, the fuel cost is $5.46 per gallon on Saipan, $7.19 per gallon on Tinian, and $6.94 per gallon on Rota, as compared to the U.S. mainland average fuel cost of $3.53 per gallon.
DeLeon Guerrero said with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it is reasonably expected that the fuel prices will increase even higher and further affecting the lives of everyone.
She said Guam is also experiencing the same financial hardships caused by the global pandemic and the substantially high cost of fuel that the government of Guam is putting together a Gas Voucher Program using ARPA funds.
DeLeon Guerrero said Guam’s program provides qualifying recipients $100 fuel voucher over a span of three months totaling to $300, in an effort to assist in mitigating the overwhelming rise in fuel costs.
She said CNMI residents are also in need of government financial assistance to ease the burden of the high fuel costs on all three islands.