Greek-Cypriot drivers fill up north as south fails to meet EU green targets

Greek-Cypriot drivers fill up north as south fails to meet EU green targets

Greek-Cypriot consumers are crying foul over rising gas prices at the pump, with some resorting to crossing the checkpoints to the Turkish-occupied northern part of the island to fill up, as the government draws criticism for failing to meet EU energy goals.

The Cypriot government has reportedly lost tax revenue to the tune of 31.9 million euros for Octane 95 gas sales in the north and 25.2 million euros for diesel.

Industry officials are crying foul over the situation, saying gas prices are getting expensive in the south because of green targets while prices remain low and more competitive in the north.

But local critics and consumer advocates have said fuel prices in the south were being influenced by powerful cartels and lack of competition, while industry officials maintain there are a lot of unpredictable and fluctuating costs embedded in the final price.

At the same time, a failure of Cyprus to meet a 10 percent target set by the European Union in renewable energy sources is drawing criticism, as the goals set in 2009 must be met before the year is out.

Cyprus is currently at 5 percent, according to information provided by the Energy Ministry, while an ongoing effort to reach 7.3 percent consists of a plan to blend certified clean fuel with conventional fuel supplies.

But the ministry’s efforts would bring prices up, according to experts, as biofuel production is expensive due to higher labour costs and strict environmental standards.

The country is expected to pay fines to the European Union for not meeting the target, while experts say consumers are expected to pick up added costs at the pump in the area of 5 to 6 cents for petrol, more than double of the official government estimate of 2 to 2.5 cents with taxes included.

Cyprus is also expected to pay fines if no steps are taken towards making the economy less dependent on fossil fuels.

[Kathimerini Cyprus]

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