Fuel prices likely not to set by fuel sellers anymore

The effects of the modification of the method of regulating fuel prices are to be examined by the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure, the Ministry of Finance and the National Agency for Energy Regulation (NAER) during a week. A request to this effect was made by Prime Minister Ion Chicu in the first meeting of the working group for the analysis and monitoring of fuel prices, IPN reports.

“I don’t think it is right to allow business entities to form the prices of oil products. I do not want to influence the decision of the working group, but I ask you to carry out this analysis as a matter of urgency and to come up with proposals. The quotes for gasoline and diesel fuel decreased, the excise duties increased insignificantly, but the selling price of diesel was raised essentially. I ask you to determine where the economic operators hide a large part of the revenues,” stated Premier Chicu, being quoted by the Government’s press service.

NAER director Ștefan Creangă said that 123 business entities hold licenses for the sale of oil products and these run 710 filling stations. The diesel fuel accounts for slightly over 70% of the sales, gasoline for almost 21% and the liquefied petroleum gas for about 9%. The Agency checks only one parameter – if the annual markup of 10% is respected by license holders. The limit set by law can be easily avoided by increasing exaggeratedly different administrative costs and the Agency has no instruments to intervene.

The Agency informed that the price regulation methodology was modified in January 2019, but the price capping mechanism used by the NAER earlier was more efficient.

The representative of the Competition Council said he collected information to identity evidence of the existence of cartel agreements, but could not find such data. However, there are aspects showing indirectly that agreements can exist.

Last weekend, a number of filling stations posted higher fuel prices. The prices of gasoline and diesel fuel rose by 0.7 lei on average, while of liquefied petroleum gas by 1 leu.

Since 2016, the NAER set the ceiling prices of gasoline and diesel fuel once in two weeks. In March 2019, the Agency approved a new fuel pricing methodology. According to this, fuel sellers set the retail prices of the main fuels and liquefied petroleum gas by themselves, within an annual markup of 10%. But they are to present the relevant calculations within three days of the day new prices are posted.

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