Threats bear fruit on gaso­line price cap

Kathimerini English - - Business & Finance - BY DIMITRA MANIFAVA

Threats by the Min­istry for Re­gional De­vel­op­ment and Com­pet­i­tive­ness to im­me­di­ately in­dict any gas sta­tion owner who fails to ad­here to its re­cent price cap and fine them up to 1.5 mil­lion eu­ros have to an ex­tent helped to con­tain the prob­lem of con­sumers be­ing charged un­jus­ti­fi­ably high rates.

Ac­cord­ing to data com­piled by the min­istry’s Fuel Price Ob­ser­va­tory, while up to 3 p.m. yes­ter­day only three out of the 13 pre­fec­tures with a price ceil­ing had shown full com­pli­ance, re­gard­ing the sale of un­leaded gaso­line, the pic­ture changed in the fol­low­ing hours, show­ing a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment de­spite ob­jec­tions by re­tail­ers.

At 3 p.m. there was full com­pli­ance only on Chios, in Fokida and in Evry­ta­nia, but the pic­ture im­proved sig­nif­i­cantly later also on Samos, Corfu, the Dode­canese and other ar­eas where the ceil­ing has been im­posed. Cephalo­nia and Lesvos gas sta­tions own­ers re­mained un­de­terred by the min­istry’s threats of penal­ties.

Re­ac­tion to the price cap grew stronger yes­ter­day, though. The Fed­er­a­tion of Gas Sta­tion Own­ers protested that in eight out of the 13 pre­fec­tures, the ceil­ing is only im­posed on the re­tail price of fuel and not whole­sale rates.

“Prac­tice has shown that in such cases we have many in­stances of whole­sale prices equal to or even higher than the re­tail price cap, which means gas sta­tions can­not op­er­ate and are threat­ened with charges of a fla­grant crime and heavy fines,” the fed­er­a­tion said in its state­ment. It also called on its mem­bers to re­act and start mo­bi­liz­ing with ral- lies, pres­sure on lo­cal deputies, par­ties and con­sumers or even re­sort­ing to clos­ing their gas sta­tions “un­til the un­fair sys­tem ends.”

Also yes­ter­day, the As­so­ci­a­tion of Fuel Trad­ing Com­pa­nies (SEEPE) ex­pressed strong op­po­si­tion to the im­po­si­tion of the price cap: “The state’s claim that im­pos­ing a price ceil­ing is to the ben­e­fit of the con­sumer in or­der to beat phe­nom­ena of prof­i­teer­ing goes against the state’s ac­tion of in­creas­ing three times the con­sump­tion tax by a to­tal of 93 per­cent in to­tal over the last cou­ple of years,” the as­so­ci­a­tion’s state­ment said.

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