The demand for fuel from gas stations has risen to record levels, so the Hungarian oil company MOL has introduced quantity restrictions. “Normal” gas stations have a cap of 100 liters for a single purchase regardless of the currency in which it is paid. For gas stations with a larger turnover, this is capped at 500 liters. The government recently announced that the wholesale price of gasoline and diesel will also be capped at 480 forints (EUR 1.3) per liter starting February 28.
This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute.
A price cap on gasoline and diesel prices was still in place in November 2021, and this measure was then extended until May 15. The government introduced it to cushion the impact of high inflation. The maximum wholesale gross selling price that can be applied by suppliers is now also HUF 480 (EUR 1.3) per liter, as is the retail price applied by gas stations. No other costs or fees may be charged, and the supplier, MOL, for the most part may not refuse to enter into a contract with the retailer applying the official price.
So from now on, service stations will have to pay as much for the fuel as they can sell it for. Before this measure, however, after the price cap was introduced, service stations bought fuel at a higher price than they sold it for. This was particularly unprofitable for smaller service stations and jeopardized their operations.
The Hungarian government’s decree on fuel prices has led to a record increase in fuel demand at gas stations, MOL said on Wednesday in a letter discovered by Telex.
As a result, the Hungarian oil company will introduce quantity limits at its gas stations: At regular gas stations, the maximum quantity for a single purchase of any fuel (car, van, tank, canister, barrel, etc.) will be 100 liters, and at larger stations 500 liters, regardless of the currency in which it is paid.
MOL introduced the restriction because large companies contracted at wholesale prices have started to buy fuel at service stations, as they would not otherwise be subject to the price cap, explains Portfolio
. However, they would now get the fuel at a higher price than wholesale. So they are more likely to go to MOL gas stations and fill up with hundreds or thousands of liters. So the reason why MOL introduced the restriction is the same as the reason why retail chains introduced quantity restrictions in the food price freeze for certain food products.
However, MOL is not the first to introduce volume restrictions in Hungary. Shell also did so “in order to maintain the security of supply,” and from February 22, 2022, a maximum of about 100 liters of any fuel up to a gross value of 50,000 forints per transaction can be filled up at ten Shell gas stations along the main transit routes. As before, there is no limit on the number of purchases per day at these stations, only on the one-time amount that can be dispensed at the pump. This is because many truck drivers now fill up their tanks in Hungary.
The measure at MOL went into effect at midnight on March 2, and it is not known how long it will remain in effect.
Sources: Portfolio, Pénzcentrum
Featured image via Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI