The gas stations have responded to the bonus of 20 cents per liter of fuel approved by the Government and in force since last April 1 with a rise average price that ranges between 0.7 cents per liter in the case of gasoline and 3.52 cents for diesell, according to a study carried out by Esade.
“In both products, it is the gas stations with lower prices that have reacted much more strongly to the change in policy, increasing their prices. This has meant a compression of the price distribution. Specifically, in the case of diesel, the cheapest gas stations they even increased their price between five and eight cents per liter,” the report reveals.
In addition, independent gas stations, those without an exclusive supply contract with a wholesale oil product operator, are the ones that have captured most of the bonus, while retail distributors (which are part of the network of large companies) have done so to a lesser extent.
The main hypothesis used by the authors of the study is that this situation is due to “a design flaw” of the measure of the Executive with respect to independent service stations, according to reports Europe Press.
“The advance system implemented by the Government to provide liquidity to the sector has proved insufficient in the case of independent gas stations with lower prices, which may have led to their prices increasing in order to guarantee said liquidity,” the analysis points out.
Along these lines, the authors consider that large companies “can afford to carry out this strategy of not raising pricesor even lower them slightly in the case of 95% gasoline, given that they have the margins of their refining activities as well as higher previous prices compared to independent service stations.
“This relative cheapening of gas stations operated by wholesale operators compared to the rest of the market seems to us to be particularly worrying in the medium and long term, since we understand that it can undermine competition in the sector,” warns the report.
Since the Government’s intention to subsidize fuel was announced, one of the main points of friction with the service station sector was linked to the advances that the gas stations should receive.
In fact, at the end of June, the National Association of Automatic Service Stations (Aesae) asked the Executive to expedite payments of advance amounts so as not to endanger the financial stability of gas stations operating in Spain.
Aesae states that, according to its calculations, gas stations are advancing around 35,000 euros per month“which supposes a significant reduction in their liquidity and, in many cases, by not having it, a search for external financing in financial entities”, which derives in indebtedness and financial costs for which they do not receive consideration.
In this context, Esade’s proposal consists of “extending and improving the design of the advance payment system to independent service stations” to ensure that they do not need to resort to price increases to have short-term liquidity.
Thus, they point to the possibility of extend the advance system and that returns be made more frequently, every fifteen days, replacing the current model, where it is made monthly.
“We understand that in this way the liquidity of small companies in the sector is guaranteed, which will help the discount reach consumers in its entirety without increasing the level of aggregate spending of the policy,” the report includes among its conclusions.
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