Misleading Allegations About Gas Price Fluctuations Before & After Aragalaya! 

Economy Missing Context

දිනපතා සත්‍ය කරුණු දැන ගැනීමට අපගේ WhatsApp සමුහයටමෙතනින් එකතුවන්න.

Sri Lanka is currently grappling with a severe economic crisis, prompting the government to implement measures like tax increases to boost state revenue. As a consequence, the domestic gas price has also surged, driven in part by a recent Value Added Tax (VAT) increment and some other factors. 

This has triggered a surge in social media posts, some of which contain misleading information. It is crucial to ensure that the public is well-informed to facilitate constructive discussions amid these challenging economic conditions.

Social Media Posts

In recent social media posts, allegations have surfaced, targeting President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Aragalaya activists for the current state of gas prices in Sri Lanka. The post implies that the price of an LP gas cylinder (12.5kg) was around Rs.1500 before the Aragalaya period and that after Ranil Wickremasinghe became the president after the protests, the price has now shot up to Rs.4250.

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Users commented on it like below.

We decided to investigate the facts behind this claim.

Fact Check 

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Tenure:

The claim suggests that before President Wickremesinghe’s appointment in July 2022, the gas cylinder’s price stood at Rs.1500. During the first phase of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s tenure, the price of the 12.5kg gas cylinder did, in fact, fall even below Rs.1500 as seen in the below graph. Below is a chart about how Litro gas cylinder prices fluctuated from 2010 to May 2021. (Litro Gas)

However, the LP gas prices gradually increased since then, especially after October 2021, when price controls for LP gas were removed. Here is a report of the 12.5kg LP gas cylinder price being increased to Rs. 2750 in October 2021.

Again, in April 2022, the price of LP gas increased substantially towards the final period of Gotabaya`s tenure, and the 12.5kg Litro gas cylinder was sold at Rs. 4,860, as seen here. Even the Laugfs Gas prices increased, with the price of 12.5 Laugfs cylinder sold as high as Rs.6,850 in June 2022.

Gas Shortage and Departure of Gotabaya Rajapaksa:

Further complicating the situation, around Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s departure from the presidency in June -July 2022, there was a severe gas shortage in the country. Multiple media reports documented the challenges faced by citizens during this period. The details can be read from here, here, here and here

Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Appointment:

When President Wickremesinghe assumed office in July 2022, the 12.5kg cylinder gas price for a Cylinder was around Rs.5000 (Litro). Laugf’s price was closer to 7,000, and there was a severe gas shortage in the country.

Contrary to the misleading claims, after President Wickremesinghe’s appointment, there were instances of gradual decreases in gas prices, with occasional increments.

Changes in Litro gas prices that deliver gas for the majority of Sri Lankan market needs throughout the year 2023 can be found below. (Data provided by Litro Gas)

After President Wickremesinghe assumed duties, the gas shortage gradually faded away and currently no gas shortage in the country at the moment.

The current Litro gas price is Rs.4250 (12.5kg) after the increase of VAT to 18% with effect from 1 January 2024. However, even this price is lower than the prices when President Wickremesinghe assumed office.

Global and Economic Factors:

It’s important to recognize that gas prices are influenced by various factors, including global market conditions, economic trends, and geopolitical events. Pinning the entire situation on a specific political figure oversimplifies the complexities involved in determining gas prices.

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In conclusion, the allegations against President Wickremesinghe and Aragalaya activists for the increase in gas prices are misleading. The timeline of events reveals that the price surge mainly occurred towards the end period of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s tenure, and in the subsequent period, the prices dropped and increased by comparatively smaller margins. Furthermore, understanding the broader context of global and economic factors is essential when evaluating claims related to gas prices in Sri Lanka.


Title:Misleading Allegations About Gas Price Fluctuations Before & After Aragalaya

Written By: Kalana Krishantha 

Result: Missing Context

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