Minister: Govt will act on fuel prices if necessary

Brežice/Ljubljana – Economy Ministry Zdravko Počivalšek has announced that the government will check the latest developments on the fuel market and act if need be, saying that the recent decision to lift the cap on retail fuel prices was a result of the market getting stable in terms of volumes and prices.

“We limited the prices of fuels due to the instability on the market” in mid-March, he said in Brežice, east, on Wednesday, adding the situation had since stabilised.

As the government decided last week not to extend the cap on retail prices beyond April, the prices of regular petrol and diesel at petrol stations rose significantly.

Now the minister said that the government “will check what is going on on the market and we will take action if necessary”.

Počivalšek also commented on Tuesday’s statement by most likely PM-elect Robert Golob, who said the market was apparently malfunctioning and urged “smart regulation”.

Golob also suggested that fuel retailers might have engaged in collusion as the 1 May price hikes at petrol stations of various providers were rather similar.

Počivalšek meanwhile said that Slovenia was the only country in Europe to have had regulated fuel prices until recently.

He attributed the latest price hike to the rise in the price of oil on global markets, which he said accounts for 40-50% of the fuel price.

If the market is not functioning as it should, there is the Competition Protection Agency which is obliged to monitor the situation and act, Počivalšek said.

The Competition Protection Agency, on the other hand, said in a statement on Wednesday that it had been closely monitoring the situation for quite some time.

According to a fuel market analysis it complied at the end of 2021, retail prices of various providers were not always the same in the wake of liberalisation in recent years, but it often happened that dates of price changes of various providers coincided.