Defying predictions of a rebound once the first review of Greece’s third bailout was completed, fuel demand continued its downward trajectory in June.
Market data indicates that the drop in the demand of auto fuel for the month of June will measure five percent compared to the equivalent period a year earlier, while a four percent decline is expected for diesel demand.
The latest drop, following an overall decline of eight percent in May, unfortunately increases the likelihood of petrol station owners tampering with their pump meters as a means of compensating for the falling demand. Inspections are not being rigidly enforced, which encourages such foul among culprits in the market.
A number of checks conducted by fuel market inspectors in the wider Athens area early this month led to the closure of five petrol stations as a result of petrol-pump infringements, according to sources. It remains unknown whether these petrol stations will remain closed or will reopen if fines imposed are paid.
The effectiveness of an “inflow-outflow” monitoring system installed at petrol stations, supplier facilities and refineries, an initiative that cost millions of euros in both private-sector and public money, remains undetermined. Some 98 percent of petrol stations around Greece have installed the monitoring system but fuel sales and purchase data being sent by them to a finance ministry data bank established for this issue is not being cross examined.
According to sources, yet another team has been assembled to look into the case and propose solutions.
Since the beginning of the Greek crisis, over six years ago, domestic fuel market turnover has shrunk by at least 30 percent, while roughly 2,500 petrol stations have gone out of business and many trading firms are believed to be struggling to remain afloat.