Hungary’s smaller gas station owners are considering filing a constitutional complaint against the Hungarian state over the HUF 480 fuel price cap which has been detrimental to them, reports government-critical daily Népszava.
This article was originally published on our sister-site Ungarn Heute.
Small businesses in the sector believe that the retail and wholesale price cap regulations violate the rule that “no one can be forced by an official price to operate at a loss.”
The zero difference resulting from the price cap of 480 forints for both the wholesale and retail price is, in reality, a loss for them, as it is not a profit but a profit margin with which they would have to cover their own operating costs, including investments, operations, loans, wages, etc. The fact that the operation of a gas station that has to be closed for more than 48 hours can be temporarily taken over by a company – in this case by Hungarian MOL – through the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (ITM) is a violation of their property rights, the owners believe.
However, the proceedings could begin in a matter of weeks, and if it continues to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, it could go on for years.
Significant reduction in wholesale prices for gasoline and diesel expected
Starting Friday, wholesale prices for gasoline and diesel in Hungary will drop significantly. For gasoline, this means 40 forints per liter, while the purchase price of diesel will drop by 70 forints. This is due to the significant decrease in the market price of oil and the positive impact of the reduction in domestic excise tax. In Hungary, the prices for gasoline or diesel were capped as recently as November, according to which one still has to pay only 480 forints for a liter.
Several Hungarian gas stations either ran out of fuel or did not even open in the morning. This was especially typical in the localities located on the border. The reason, among others, was panic buying as well as tank tourism. In Hungary, one must spend at present 480 Forint (approximately 1.30 euro) per liter for gasoline and/or diesel, while in Austria it costs 2 euro. In the meantime, however, the situation has returned to normal and now there is good news for the larger gas station owners: starting Friday, the wholesale prices for gasoline and diesel in Hungary will drop significantly.
After the change, the average prices at domestic gas stations would be as follows if there were no official price cap of 480 forints:
- 95 gasoline: 591 Ft/liter
- Diesel: 641 Ft/liter
FactThe government announced last Thursday that as of 10 p.m. Thursday night, vehicles over 7.5 tons will only be allowed to refuel at specified gas stations where fuel is available at market prices. This applies to both Hungarian and foreign trucks and even foreign vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tons. “Scaremongers” who write about supply problems will be severely punished. The excise tax will be lowered. However, the price freeze will certainly be maintained until May.
Featured image: illustration via Pixabay