The data for fuel demand in January have caused concern at the Environment and Energy Ministry, as after years of shrinking there were hopes the 2019 recovery would continue.
Last year demand for fuel posted an increase of 4.2 percent compared to 2018, led by heating oil, whose sales volume jumped 11.7 percent. However, January 2020 saw a 1.7 percent year-on-year decline in gasoline sales, after a marginal drop of 0.7 percent throughout 2019. Diesel followed up last year’s 1.7 percent rise with a drop of 0.7 percent last month, while heating oil sales volume dropped a remarkable 5.4 percent.
The market is also concerned about fuel smuggling, as the institutional framework created to combat the phenomenon has yet to be implemented. Ten years since its introduction, the data from the inflow-outflow systems at fuel stations still aren't being used, even though the sector has invested over 100 million euros in the systems.
The Finance Ministry will table a bill in Parliament next month against the illegal trade in fuel, with the market hoping for a reduction in the 300 million euros of state revenues lost per year.