Petroleum product traders are troubled by government thoughts to broaden the eligibility of heating subsidy support so that, besides heating fuel, three new categories, natural gas, firewood and pellets, are also added to the list.
Contrary to natural gas, heating fuel is overtaxed, while the encouragement, through subsidies, of firewood as a heating source does not make environmental sense given the high levels of resulting smog, petroleum industry sources have pointed out.
High levels of smog have been recorded in Greek cities during winters over the past decade or so as struggling households have sought lower-cost heating amid the recession.
Heating subsidies are already limited and barely cover the needs of underprivileged households, petroleum industry officials have noted, fearing their share of the total could diminish if other heating sources also become eligible.
Heating fuel supply for the approaching winter season began yesterday at a level of 77 cents per liter, 2 cents lower than the price level at the close of last season’s trading, in May. Heating fuel prices are forecast to remain low, sources said.
Despite the lower price level, demand was subdued on opening day, yesterday. Many consumers took advantage of last season’s price drop and are already stocked up. In addition, temperatures around Greece remain mild.