The pump price of autogas, the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) used in vehicles, surged by around 19 per cent to Tk 50 per litre from Tk 42 this week.
Privately-owned LPG importers and marketers have increased the autogas price to cope with soaring LPG price in the global market, a LPG trader said.
Vehicle owners, especially privately-owned ones, are bearing the brunt of the sudden hike of fuel.
"I used to buy LPG at Tk 42 per litre and the price remained the same till last Friday," said Atikul Islam, a private car owner.
The autogas price soared to Tk 43 per litre on Saturday and jumped to Tk 50 per litre since Sunday, Mr Islam, whose car runs on autogas, lamented.
Unlike other fuels, LPG price in the domestic market is fixed by private players.
The government has no control over setting the prices of LPG either used for cooking or vehicles.
The use of LPG as auto fuel is on the rise in Bangladesh due to its cost competitiveness compared to octane, petrol or diesel.
LPG business as autogas in Bangladesh started in 2005 when Australia-based Petredec Elpiji, which was acquired by Laugfs Gas in October 2015, set up the country's first filling station.
Currently, around 120 autogas filling stations are operating across the country.
Retail prices of LPG shot up by 20 per cent early this month, which was the highest level in years.
Each cylinder weighing 12 kilogrammes was selling at Tk 1,200, up by Tk 200.
A LPG trader involved in foreign trade of the product in Bangladesh said the prices of LPG component propane jumped by US$125 per tonne to $565 and butane by $135 per tonne to $590 recently in the international market, he said preferring anonymity. LPG is a mixture of propane and butane.
State-owned LP Gas Ltd, a subsidiary of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation, is selling a 12-kg LPG cylinder at Tk 700 fixed earlier, said a senior BPC official.
Market insiders said LPG consumption in the country has seen a fourfold jump over the past three years riding on its increased use in households, commercial entities and vehicles.
Over 1.0 million tonnes of LPG are now consumed annually which was around 250,000 tonnes in 2015.
Bangladesh consumed around 650,000 tonnes of LPG in 2017, up from around 400,000 tonnes in 2016, market players said.
Favourable government policy, duty waiver on import of LPG and its machinery and crackdown on illegal gas connections have helped boost LPG use across the country.
A government strategy to popularise LPG consumption across the country instead of piped natural gas to cope with fast-depleting natural gas reserves has also supported consumption growth.
Riding on booming LPG consumption in Bangladesh, the number of such companies has increased rapidly.
At present, some two dozens of LPG operators are actively involved in trading in the country, which was just six in 2015.
Some 60 firms have obtained licences from the energy ministry to run LPG business, said a ministry official.
Bangladesh's LPG market is import-dominated as more than 60 per cent of cylinders and 95 per cent of the country's total requirements are met with imports, he added.
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