Summer holidays are here and the prices of petrol and naphtha have again jumped with them. According to the data of the agency monitoring the prices of liquid fuels in Greece, the price of petrol in the areas of the island of Crete is close to two euro. Fuel prices and demand remain significantly lower in the areas of mainland Greece near major urban centres. In the area of Lasithi on the island of Crete, the highest recorded price per litre of unleaded petrol is 1.995 euro and the average price determined for the same area is 1.927 euro per litre. Petrol is expensive on other islands like Kefalonia, where the average price of unleaded petrol is 1.924 euro per litre, Corfu (Kerkyra) - 1.883 euro per litre and Samos 1.874 euro per litre. Petrol prices are considerably lower in the region of Attica and the average price is 1.802 euro per litre. In the capital itself, you can refuel for 1.72 - 1.76 euro per litre.
GRReporter contacted the head of the Hellenic Federation of Traders of Liquid Fuels Likourgos Samolis for him to explain the reason for the large variations in pricing. The rise in the prices of petrol on the islands is often due to the distance and cost of transportation as well as to the limited number of petrol stations outside mainland Greece and the lack of competitiveness.
However, Greek media often attribute the rise in prices to speculation by owners of petrol stations. The members of Federation of Traders of Liquid Fuels do not agree with this statement. "Owners of petrol stations cannot determine fuel prices. They are not entitled to do it. The Ministry of Trade and Development, and the refineries determine the pricing. As a retailer, I cannot answer why wholesale prices increase. What I can tell you is that there is an increase in wholesale prices every year in the summer," Samolis said, who besides being the chairman of the Federation is also the owner of petrol stations on the island of Crete - the area known for the highest prices of fuels.
Samolis said the average wholesale price of unleaded petrol in the district of Heraklion (Crete) is currently 1.94 euro per litre and the average retail price is 1.86 euro per litre. "This means that the principles of competitive market are working perfectly in the area of Heraklion. The difference between the retail and wholesale price does not mean that we are making a loss, but that we have simply reduced the profit significantly," the trader said. He emphasized that the problem does not lie in the end price of petrol but in the increase in the wholesale price during the summer months. The demand for transport fuel increases by default at that time because of the holiday movements of Greek tourists regardless of whether the country is in crisis or in economic recovery.
The Association of Petrol Station Owners confirmed Samolis’ statement by saying that the price per litre of unleaded petrol marketed by refiners has increased by 0.16 euro from the middle of July to today. "It is a shame to maintain today's high taxes and prices in times of deep crisis and financial strangulation of the Greek citizen as it is making Greece the country with the most expensive petrol in Europe," the Association said.
"The invoices for the supply of petrol stations with fuel present higher values every year at this time. Consumer prices cannot but rise when refineries raise the bar," the specialist insists. Samolis expects the government to put a ceiling on the end user price as a measure to limit the prices. "The problem with this measure as always is that the government will limit the increase of retail prices but it will not put a ceiling on the prices of refiners and suppliers. This in turn will lead to a new wave of closures of petrol stations," the head of the Hellenic Federation of Traders of Liquid Fuels predicted.