Competition prevents gas stations from taking advantage of the bonus to increase prices


believes that the margins achieved by the oil companies since the beginning of the war in Ukraine are no different from those applied in recent years

The gas stations do not use the government discount of 20 cents per liter to increase the fuel price and generate more income. At least that is the conclusion of the National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC), via the periodic reports that it prepares after monitoring the costs until the month of May.

On the basis of the information gathered so far, the Commission concludes that in general “the fuel distribution market through service stations appears to be passing the discount on to the consumer”. The report also emphasizes that it “does not rule out” that “an individual gas station has taken some of the government support” and increased its margins. But, he adds, they are specific cases and not in a general way.

This conclusion comes after the suspicions warned by consumer groups and even Vice President Nadia Calviño’s remark to the oil companies, warning them that if they took advantage of this situation, action would be taken against them.

However, competition believes that “the margins built up in the first five months of this year are very similar to the average gross margin of 2021”, they indicate in the body chaired by Cani Fernández. “And this despite the fact that there are new fuel commitments this year,” they add. This average margin is 11.2% for every liter of gasoline and more than 14% for diesel, percentages similar to last year, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The CNMC warns that the high volatility of international fuel prices “advises caution” in evaluating fuel price behavior and profits generated by companies until last May. Because “they register swings both up and down depending on the month evaluated.”

The data collected in this first week of July is already pointing to a change of context, at least for now, in terms of fuels. After a barrel of Brent has fallen 20% in a week to $100, fuel prices are slowly beginning to reflect these declines. It is the fear of the so-called ‘rocket and boom effect’: the perception that prices rise quickly and gradually fall.

In that sense, the CNMC points out that there is “a delay” between when oil falls and reality is reflected in the pump. “With the volatility that exists now, it is impossible” to transfer it quickly, almost immediately, they point out in the body.

The average price of diesel and petrol has fallen slightly in Spain this week, although both fuels remain above two euros per litre, a level they have been exceeding for several weeks. Specifically, the average price of a liter of petrol stood at 2,112 euros this week, after a 0.75% drop from seven days ago, according to data from the European Union Oil Bulletin. In this way, it has already accumulated two consecutive weeks of declines.

In the case of diesel, the average price per liter stands at 2,076 euros this week, after a decrease of 1.14% and has been relaxed for the first time since the end of May.

That average amount includes taxes, but does not reflect the discount in effect since April 1 of at least 20 cents per liter, as there are higher discounts depending on the oil company and its loyalty promotions.

Taking into account this subsidy, the price of a liter of petrol would be 9 cents more expensive than in the last week of March (1,818 euros), before the discount was applied, with which the price increase recorded by this fuel since then has completely absorbed the support.

As for diesel, applying the discount of 20 cents per liter, the amount would be almost four cents higher than the price it marked at the end of March (1,837 euros per liter).

Compared to the same week a year ago, the average price of a liter of petrol has become 51.83% more expensive, while in the case of diesel it is 65.55% more expensive, albeit without taking into account the currently applicable bonus.

Source: La Verdad


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