OPINION

Oligopoly in the fuel market

Greece is the second most expensive country in Europe after the Netherlands with regard to liquid fuel prices. As the Competition Commission has just shown in a report, the burden placed on Greek consumers is due to the distortions prevailing in the market caused by the lack of competition among all businesses involved in the trade, all the way from the refineries to the multinational commercial companies, and from transporters to gas stations. But as the popular Greek saying goes, a fish begins to rot from the head. So this exploitative racket run by a very few is essentially based on the two refineries that monopolize the domestic market. These firms, that have close links with both major parties, have managed to get laws passed that in effect have prohibited other firms from importing fuel since the 1970s. This is why Greek consumers must pay the high prices charged by those two major groups for the already expensive basic commodity and the refining process.