Starting in 2008, the Ecuadorian government instituted a fuel surcharge for ships using more than 4,000 gallons per month of diesel fuel.
This surcharge was expanded and increased in June of 2011.
Why the fuel surcharge?
The fuel surcharge began in 2008 when the Ecuadorian government, which subsidizes fuel use in the country, removed the subsidies from ships that use a lot of fuel.
Use of fuel and motors is one of the major causes of air, water (and noise) pollution in the Galápagos.
Since the government – federal and local – is on the hook for cleanup, it only makes sense to impose a tax on those who pollute.
The increased fuel costs average out to about $100 to $300/person for a cruise, depending on the ship, length of cruise, etc.
Who pays for it?
If you’ve already booked and paid for your cruise, you may be asked to pay the surcharge (which was imposed without much warning), or the tour company may just pay it, depending on what cruise you have booked and with whom.
In the future, the cost of the fuel will simply be added to the cost of the cruise and most passengers will probably never notice it.
Who benefits from the fuel surcharge?
Since the “surcharge” is basically the removal of a subsidy, the Ecuadorian government and the fuel companies will get the money. Hopefully, some of this additional income is destined for Galápagos.
In that case, it will be the Galápagos wildlife that benefits…and it’s tough to argue with that!