The price of petrol in Bulgaria is continuing to fall, following decreases in world crude oil prices, with the price at the pump for A-95 now at its lowest since 2007.
Even with variations in price at different fuel stations, the price of petrol in Bulgaria fell below two leva a litre in the past week, ranging from 1.88 leva a litre to 1.93 leva a litre.
In the first two weeks of 2015, prices fell past the 2.20 leva barrier, with the price of diesel also reducing, albeit at a slower pace, to about 1.95 leva a litre.
Bulgarian-language media, quoting “experts”, said that lower fuel prices could be expected to stay around at least until mid-2015.
Should this happen, holidaymakers heading for Bulgaria’s Black Sea would pay just more than 64 leva less on average for petrol. In June 2014, the price of a litre of A-95 in Bulgaria was about 2.60 leva.
A sample of prices of A-95 on January 20 in various European countries, including both EU and non-EU countries, shows a wide range of prices, with Bulgaria at the lower end of the scale.
In euro, prices on January 20 were Austria 1.14, Belgium 1.331, Bulgaria 0.987, Croatia 1.101, Denmark 1.435, Hungary 1.005, Italy 1.517, Macedonia 0.974, Malta 1.440, Netherlands 1.549, Norway 1.598, Russia 0.472 and Ukraine 0.945.
Media reports said that motorists in Bulgaria were insisting that the price of A-95 was still too high and should drop further.
Local media also reported that research posted on the energy.eu portal showed that Bulgaria ranked bottom among EU countries in terms of the number of times people could fill up the tanks of their cars on their monthly salaries.
According to reports on January 9, a Bulgarian’s monthly salary would fill a 45 litre tank only 2.9 times, while a Romanian’s would fill up 3.2 times, a Hungarian’s 5.8 times and a Polish salary earner could fill up 7.4 times.
In Italy, even though petrol prices are highest among EU countries, a salary would buy 13 tankfuls of petrol in a month.
Around Central and Eastern Europe, declines in petrol prices have varied.
On January 19, the Warsaw Voice reported that Polish average retail gasoline prices came down by PLN 0.08 a litre and diesel by PLN 0.07 a litre in the week ending January 16, a study by the Reflex brokerage showed.
Unleaded 95-octane petrol sold on average for PLN 4.43 / liter, a low dating back to 2010. Diesel was selling at PLN 4.44 / liter, a record also dating back to 2010.
On January 14, the Slovak Spectator reported that in Slovakia, decreasing crude oil prices were pushing prices at petrol stations down, but not as fast as in neighbouring countries and the Antimonopoly Office (PMÚ) was set to investigate.
Richard Sulík, a MEP for Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) urged the PMÚ on January 13 to look into what he suspected were cartel agreements between petrol station operators in Slovakia. Sulík deemed fuel prices in Slovakia to be excessive in view of plunging oil prices.
According to Sulík, fuel prices in Slovakia are the EU’s highest.
“Even if you take excise tax, competition and operating costs into consideration, there’s still scope to cut petrol and diesel prices,” said Sulík before expressing his suspicion that filling station operators are in collusion. “That may be why our fuel prices are higher than abroad. I’ve filed a complaint with the PMÚ in order to wake those gentlemen up and so that they will realise what their job is. ”
On January 7, the Independent Balkan News Agency reported that Kosovo continued to have the highest price in the region, where a liter of diesel costs 1.14 euro, while in Macedonia, a liter of diesel was sold at 52.5 denars or less than a euro.
Fadil Berjani from the Kosovo Association of Oilmen said that the high price of diesel in Kosovo was a result of the lack of a body regulating prices.
“The new government must take immediate action in order to oversee the quality of diesel in Kosovo. If there was a regulatory body, then the price of fuel in Kosovo would be controlled. We have cases when the price of diesel in the international markets falls, but the price still remains high in Kosovo,” Berjani said.
(Photo: Kiril Havezov/sxc.hu)