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Christmas comes early for motorists

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Consumers might find themselves with a bit more room in their holiday budget for Christmas this year, as stakeholders predict a continued drop in fuel prices.

Anticipating further reductions at petrol stations, stakeholders note that prices are already lower than early December, thanks to the implementation of a reduced consumption tax.

The reduced consumption tax rate on motor fuels will remain in effect until February 2024, leading to an expected decrease of 8 and 7 cents per litre for petrol and diesel, respectively.

For heating oil, the reduced rate (6.3 cents) will be applicable until March 2024.

However, there have been delays in these anticipated reductions.

In comments to local media, Marios Drousiotis, the chairman of the Cyprus Consumers Association (CCA), referred to the current prices and expected trends, stating that based on the association’s estimates, further fuel price reductions are expected before Christmas.

Drousiotis argued that international fuel prices have dropped faster than in Cyprus and suggested that pump prices should ideally be 4 to 5 cents lower.

He emphasised that while prices have decreased, the reduction is not as significant as it should be.

“One fuel company announced reductions of 4 cents in petrol, 5.6 cents in diesel, and 2 cents in heating oil on Monday. However, they should have been even lower,” said Drousiotis.

The head of the island’s consumers’ association stressed the need for further reductions, particularly for heating oil, arguing that there is room for an additional 4 to 5 cents reduction.

Christodoulos Christodoulou, the representative of the Association of Petrol Station Owners, also predicts possible fuel price reductions this week.

Europe still warm

He attributed the estimation to the ongoing fall in international crude oil prices due to high supply and reduced demand, as winter-like weather has not yet arrived in Europe.

Christodoulou explained that oil supply remains in surplus, and he noted that the current oil price is low at $74/barrel.

He suggested that if it increases to $76 a barrel or $77, there may be no changes in prices. However, if international prices climb to around $90 a barrel, he anticipates increases again.

Commenting on demand levels at local stations, Christodoulou said that sales for heating oil are significantly lower due to warmer than usual weather conditions.

In terms of price ranges, the Energy Ministry’s fuel retail price observatory records real-time prices at stations in all provinces.

The lowest price for unleaded 95 octane petrol was recorded in Nicosia at €1.329 a litre, compared to €1.353 around early December. The highest price for unleaded 95 octane is €1.438 a litre in Limassol.

For unleaded 98 octane petrol, the cheapest price in the capital was €1.359 a litre, with the most expensive being €1.595 in Paphos.

Diesel prices ranged from €1.434 a litre in Nicosia to €1.599 in Nicosia and Paphos. Early December saw the highest diesel price at €1.639 a litre in Nicosia.