The Slovenia Times

Slovenia partially liberalises fuel prices


Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said this was "the first step" towards full price liberalisation of all oil derivatives with new steps to follow. "I am confident that consumers, too, will benefit," he said.

Fuel retailers have been pushing for full liberalisation, arguing that margins are too thin. They have also been stressing that Slovenia is among the last EU countries with administered fuel prices.

However, their wishes have ran into opposition from the Finance Ministry, which fears that fully liberalising prices would erode budget receipt just as the treasury is struggling to consolidate public finances.

Regular petrol and diesel, which remain subject to administered prices, account for the bulk of sales. Consequently, the government expects to lose only about EUR 300,000 annually as a result of the partial liberalisation.

Consumer groups have already expressed fears prices will rise, in particular due to the near-total market dominance of two retailers, Patrol and OMV, but Počivalšek dismissed such concerns as unfounded.

"The main way [to prevent this] is for consumers and hauliers to be vigilant about prices. But we also have tools that we can leverage to immediately stop any unwanted price trends. I'm confident the providers of oil derivatives are aware of that."

While the roadmap for further liberalisation has not been revealed, the decree under which regular petrol and diesel prices remain administered has been extended by only two months.

Počivalšek said the government would first examine liberalising prices on motorway service stations. "I'm confident we will soon follow-up with measures, either along the motorways or in the border areas."


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