ECONOMY

Will Greeks warm to lower heating costs?

The local fuel market is hoping that Wednesday’s positive start to the heating oil distribution season, with prices from as low as 99 cents per liter and an average of 1.05 euros/liter, will put an end to the big decline in the sector’s turnover seen over the last few years.

Infobank Hellastat data released on Wednesday showed a 13.3 percent decline in fuel consumption in 2013 from a year earlier, or 1 million tons less, while the drop from 2009 came to a staggering 41.6 percent.

The biggest decline over these last four years has predictably been in heating oil consumption, totaling 52 percent and driven mainly by the soaring special consumption tax introduced on the commodity in 2012.

The study concluded that the tax increase did not lead to an increase in state revenues, as the decline in consumption offset the expected positive impact of the new taxes, to say nothing of the social impact of the measure. In the January-November 2013 period, state revenues from fuel taxation declined by 8.6 percent year-on-year.

Infobank Hellastat stressed that illegal trading and fuel adulteration remain rife in the market. The total turnover of the 17 main fuel companies in the country declined by 13.7 percent year-on-year to 10.05 billion euros in 2013.