Cypriot motorists are in for a financial jolt as petrol station owners warn that pump prices will hit €2 per litre as consumer groups scream profiteering.
In comments to Astra Radio, the spokesperson for the Cyprus Petrol Station Owners, Christodoulos Christodoulou, said petrol prices would increase by at least 20 cents per litre within the next two weeks.
He said a petrol company on Tuesday has already pushed up prices of 95 Octane petrol by 4 euro cents and Octane 98 petrol by 8 cents.
According to Christodoulou, following the new increases, the petrol stations under the franchise are now selling 95 octane petro at €1.73 per litre and 98 Octane petrol at €1.80 per litre.
Christodoulou predicts that prices for both petrol and diesel will be around €2 per litre in the next couple of weeks.
Petrol station owners point the finger at the government, accusing it of not reimbursing them for taxes they had paid before the government decided to reduce the consumption tax on fuel products.
It is claimed that the government owes each petrol station between €8,000 to €10,000.
Christodoulou claimed that petrol stations are running out of cash and cannot keep their businesses running as they need money to pay for fuel deliveries upfront.
Yet more price increases have outraged consumer organisations, which accuse petrol stations of profiteering.
In comments to the Financial Mirror, President of the Cyprus Consumers Union and Quality of Life, Loucas Aristodemou, said fuel companies are unjustifiably pushing prices up.
“The price of diesel today is over €1.80, with the price of crude oil at around $110 a barrel. Not too long ago, the price of crude oil was $130, with the price of diesel at €1.50,” said Aristodemou.
He argued that no oil company or authority has come out to explain why this is the case.
“We have recorded that petrol companies push prices up when the price of crude oil goes up.
“Fair enough. But the tendency is that they do not bring prices back down when the price of crude oil drops.
“They keep the prices up and build with the next increase.”
Arsitodemou also slammed the government, arguing that no authority has come out to inform the public how fuel prices are calculated.
“They say… Yes, everything seems to look fine. No profiteering here….”
“They do not tell people there is an additional cost of 12 cents per litre added recently to fuel products”.
He accused authorities of allowing petrol companies to roll down to consumers the cost of dismantling their storage facilities in Larnaca and the cost of their investment for new ones at Vassiliko.
“They have signed an agreement with all petrol companies, allowing them to roll down their costs, essentially creating an unofficial cartel.”
Aristodemou argued the government should do away with double taxation.
“VAT is imposed on fuel prices after the consumption and biodiesel taxes have been added.”