Cheap fuel a phone call away

Motorists in the Greek countryside will have the opportunity to find the cheapest fuel in their area by calling a state-run phone service as of Monday that will provide the lowest petrol prices in each prefecture, authorities said yesterday. A 1564 phone line will be updated every day by 11 a.m. and will offer callers a list of the 10 cheapest petrol stations in their area. The same information will also be offered on the Internet ( in a joint initiative announced yesterday by the Development and Interior ministries. The move is aimed at helping encourage competition in areas other than Athens and Thessaloniki, where market conditions are considered to be more efficient. «Consumers can learn of the cheapest petrol stations and then decide where to buy fuel. This piece of information intensifies competition and helps even out the market,» said Deputy Interior Minister Apostolos Andreoulakos. Petrol prices in 47 of the country’s 49 prefectures will be collected and ranked according to price. Prefectural officials from Iraklion, Crete, and Achaia in the Peloponnese have refused to take part in the scheme. The reasons for this have not been announced. The service will collate price data from 4,336 of Greece’s 8,300 fuel stations. Meanwhile, recent checks by Development Ministry officials uncovered 12 petrol stations in the broader Athens area that had tampered with their fuel pumps, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said yesterday. The fuel pumps had been set to dispense less fuel than that indicated on the machines’ dials. The prosecutor and local prefect authorities have been informed of the violations in order to impose the relevant penalties. The checks were held between July 10 and August 24.