Regulator calls for gas price ceiling

Greece’s energy regulator RAE has recommended the imposition of a price ceiling on gasoline sold at fuel stations on some of the country’s islands in a bid to stamp out profiteering in the sector. Despite the recent drop in oil prices in international markets, Greek motorists have not seen the price fall passed on to the fuel pump. RAE has recommended to the Development Ministry the imposition of price control measures until the end of the month on 12 of the country’s islands. The report calls for a price ceiling on the islands of Corfu, Cephalonia and parts of Crete for all types of fuel sold. In other areas, such as Lesvos and Zakynthos, it recommends that a maximum price be set only on certain fuel types. Fuel prices are often higher in rural areas where the market is controlled by fewer participants. Sources said the government is reluctant to adopt the measures in view of the limited results it produced when it was last implemented by the ruling socialists in 2003. This type of step can distort the market, as the cheaper petrol stations use it as an opportunity to up their prices, said a source. Unleaded fuel in some of the country’s popular tourist areas is being sold for 1.34 euros per litre versus around 1.14 euros in Athens. Development Minister Christos Folias is expected to decide on the issue today.