Heating fuel prices commenced trading today for the upcoming winter season at levels of between 93 and 95 cents (euro) per liter in the wider Athens area, matching last season’s opening price levels.
This time last year, heating fuel began trading at around 93 cents and closed the season at 97 cents.
Sector officials have forecast little chance of any major price changes during the season.
However, anticipated heating fuel subsidy changes, needed as a result of a confirmed cut in national budget heating subsidy provisions from 110 million euros last year to 55 million euros this year, could seriously impact household consumption levels and oil trading company performances.
The finance ministry has yet to deliver a final decision on the new subsidy details. Either subsidy levels or eligibility criteria, or, perhaps both, could change. Last year, eligible households received heating fuel subsidies worth 25 cents per liter.
On the contrary, natural gas is continuing to gain a widening advantage over heating fuel, as highlighted by its deepening market penetration in Athens, Thessaloniki and Thessaly.
Natural gas prices are expected to range between 30 and 40 percent lower than those of heating fuel this winter.
In a letter forwarded to the government, POPEK, the country’s fuel station trading association, has called for a drastic reduction of the special consumption tax (EFK) imposed on heating fuel, noting that a rate hike failed to deliver the desired tax revenue results from this tax while also depriving households of heating fuel.