Heating oil market is facing shortages, but not a strike

The heating oil market in Attica faced some serious supply problems yesterday, making it particularly difficult for those who defied forecasts and the threats from suppliers and had not filled their tanks in advance. The threats of a cut-off in supply, to press demands for a postponement of the implementation of the measure to equalize the taxes on heating oil and automotive diesel, were not realized as the majority of traders decided on Sunday evening to support the Economy Ministry’s decision, provided the ministry meets its financial obligations toward them. However, the market did not function properly due to weather problems. Roads were too slippery for fuel tanks to get to the majority of houses in Attica, while even gasoline stations had shortages. There were some queues at stations with heating oil, with people purchasing small quantities in petrol cans. There were no other reasons than the weather for the supply problems, as the head of the Federation of Petrol Vendors in Greece (OBE), Michalis Kiousis, told Kathimerini that «the operation of the market is normalizing all the time.» Kiousis considers very positive the ministry’s response to the sector’s demand for crediting the difference in tax within three days. «The fact that most gasoline vendors have already seen the difference credited to their accounts has made them feel easier and I believe everything will proceed normally,» Kiousis told Kathimerini. Some shortages may persist in the next few days, he notes, but stresses that these will gradually end. There has been a significant rise in the price of fuel, though, with heating oil averaging at 0.73 euros per liter and gasoline 1.089 euros per liter, according to the Development Ministry.