Gas prices continue to rise and average citizens are feeling the squeeze, said Phnom
Penh residents this week. Transportation workers are especially burdened by the high
cost of petrol.
Tuk-tuk driver Si Neen, 24, is very concerned. He said that he can hardly afford
to pay the going rate for petrol, approximately 3,800 riel ($0.90) per liter on September
8. This is a five percent increase since last week.
"The price of gasoline now is getting more expensive, almost exceeding one dollar
[per liter]," said Neen. Waiting at his usual spot on Sisowath, Neen speculated
that the price increase for petrol would jeopardize his business, as many of his
regular customers aren't willing to spend more for a ride.
But Neen says that he and his colleagues don't have many options.
"No matter how high gas prices rise, we have no choice but to buy it. Because
we are tuk-tuk and motodop drivers, our living depends on it," Neen said.
At Sokimex gas station this week the cost for a liter of super was 3,700 riel, while
vendors on the street offered slightly lower prices, generally between 3,200 and
Reach Yeang, 45, operates a taxi service near Hun Sen Park. Two months ago he scraped
together the money to buy a used 15-seater van. Though he had hoped to support his
family on his new business, rising fuel prices have cut into his profits.
"With gasoline prices increasing, there is no profit - only expenses,"
Yeang said, his white van parked nearby. He added that most days he doesn't have
customers, though he still must spend his money on fuel to take him from home to
his platform near the park.
Kim Seang, 27, started his boat tour business on the riverside last year. Like many
others, he reported that steep gas prices have significantly reduced his profits.
"We charge from $8 to $10 an hour," Seang said. "We can't charge more,
because our customers will choose another boat." He added that the market is
"These days it's very hard," he said worriedly. "But I hope gas prices
will drop lower than now, so we can make a living and do business more profitably."