Drivers will pay more at the pump, while airlines propose a ticket surcharge Consumers are beginning to feel the pinch from the jump in crude oil prices. As oil continues to hover around US$41 a barrel, energy companies, airlines and a public bus operator have all said they may need to pass on extra costs to their customers. ExxonMobil, which trades under the Esso and Mobil brands locally, joined other major petroleum companies early this morning in raising prices by 20 cents per litre at the pumps. Its premium unleaded petrol increased to $12.56 per litre, and regular unleaded to $11.78. Both Caltex and CRC have also raised their retail and industrial fuel prices. A Caltex spokesman said commercial and domestic LPG prices would remain unchanged. A Shell spokeswoman said the company would continue to monitor the situation but had no plans, as of yesterday evening, to raise prices. Seven airlines have submitted a request to the Civil Aviation Department for permission to add surcharges to tickets. Dragonair has asked for a surcharge of $65 for a one-way ticket. Cathay Pacific did not disclose its requested amount. About a quarter of local fishermen have suspended fishing because of fuel costs, said Hong Kong Fishermen's Association chairman Pang Wah-kan. With diesel prices rising, a day's fishing now costs $800 more than it did early this year. 'The fishermen don't want to go out because there is a big chance of losing money,' Mr Pang said. 'They'd rather live on their savings.' Wong Tak-leung, chairman of a poultry transport association, said the effect of the price increases will be quickly felt. He said a 20 cents per litre increase in the price of diesel fuel translated into $1,100 a month extra to operate a 10-tonne truck. Travel agents said airline surcharges would be added onto tour package prices once they were approved. Ann Yip Wai-yi, operations manager of Jetour Holiday, said: 'We still do not know the amount of surcharge ... and therefore we have not adjusted our prices.' Critics and economists are worried companies will not act as quickly to lower their prices if crude oil prices drop. Stephen Cheung Yan-leung, chair professor of finance at City University of Hong Kong, said it would be interesting to see how rapidly local firms reacted to lower prices. 'I think the government should keep an eye on that,' he said. Secretary for Economic Development and Labour Stephen Ip Shu-kwan said yesterday the government would see to it that local companies adjusted their prices accordingly when the price of imports came down. The Consumer Council, which checks imported oil prices against retail prices, said there were no irregularities as of March - the latest month the council has data for. Professor Cheung said crude oil prices have reached a ceiling and should soon begin to stabilise. 'The oil producer countries realise higher oil prices also do them harm,' he said. 'That is the reason why they have Opec. I think oil prices will stabilise in a short while.' Still, local utilities Hongkong Electric and CLP Power both said they would consider raising tariffs at the end of this year. A Towngas spokesman said the company would use the 'fuel cost variation charge' in its bills to offset a higher oil price. The company uses naphtha, a petroleum product, to produce gas. It said it would credit the amount to customers when oil prices fell back down.