Kenya witnessed a historic surge in fuel prices on Friday, September 15, as the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority announced revised pump prices, exacerbating the economic challenges faced by its citizens.
The new pricing structure has pushed the retail cost of a liter of petrol to an unprecedented level, exceeding 200 Kenyan shillings ($1.36).
Kenya is already grappling with a harsh cost of living crisis marked by soaring prices for essential commodities, the introduction of several new taxes, and a depreciating national currency.
Throughout the year, opposition protests against President William Ruto’s government and its economic policies have erupted, with some turning violent and resulting in casualties.
Under the revised pricing system in effect from Friday until October 14, the cost of a liter of petrol in the capital city of Nairobi has surged by nearly 17 shillings, reaching 211.64 shillings ($1.44), while diesel now stands at 200.99 shillings.
In response, matatu fares—minibuses widely used for transportation in Kenya—are expected to increase by 20 percent nationwide, as reported by the Matatu Owners Association.
Government officials have partially attributed this increase to a reduction in oil production announced earlier in the month by major producers Saudi Arabia and Russia, which has propelled global crude prices to their highest point in 10 months.
Energy Minister Davis Chirchir acknowledged the difficulty of the situation, stating, “There’s nothing much we can do… certainly the pain is heavy, it’s not going to be easy.” Kenya experienced a series of anti-government protests earlier in the year.