Gas station owners demand increase in profit margins

Gas stations shut down throughout Suriname on Tuesday as fuel retailers went on strike to pressure the government to increase their profit margins. Private cars mostly stayed off the roads as nearly all gas stations in the South American country closed to observe the protest. Public buses operated as normal.

Station owners are demanding a profit increase of at least 2.1 percent, or US 3 cents, for each liter they sell, said Soeridjeni Jankie, secretary of the gas station owners' union.

In September, the government raised the price of gasoline by 100 percent to keep up with rising world oil prices, a move that cut the station owners' profit margin from 5 percent to 2.9 percent per liter sold, the AP reports.

Jankie said the reduction has made it hard for many gas station owners to cover their operating expenses.

The government has said the profit margins can only be raised by oil companies.

Government officials didn't immediately return calls seeking comment Tuesday. A.M.

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