Earlier this week, panic broke out due to concerns of rapidly rising fuel prices in our neighbouring country, Romania. The Romanian Minister of Energy blamed the Hungarian-owned company’s local branch, MOL Romania, for the chaotic situation in Romania.
According to Hvg, panic broke out over fuel prices going up from 7-8 lei (~€ 1.5-1.6) to 10-11 lei (~€ 2-2.2) on Wednesday. The news about the price increase has spread like wildfire on social media and later on online news outlets, wreaking havoc among many people.
During the afternoon and evening, queues of hundreds of metres formed at several gas stations all over the country. However, due to the panic, many drivers did not only fill their car’s fuel tanks but filled up jerry cans and other large-volume containers.
Romanian Minister of Energy Virgil Popescu said to Digi24 that the panic was caused by MOL Romania since, apart from a few small retailers, they were the only large company that significantly raised fuel prices.
Hvg wrote that the local news portal ebihoreanul.ro from Bihar contacted the owner of a gas station that is partnered with MOL. The owner told the news outlet that he was only able to purchase fuel for 8.6 lei (~€ 1.74) from MOL’s depot on Wednesday, 1 lei more than on the day before. He also added that he heard news that procurement prices would be over 10 lei (~€ 2) the next day.
In contrast, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has decided to increase oil production by 10%, decreasing fuel prices on the global market.
Over the past few days, a similar thing had happened in Hungary. Since the Hungarian government introduced a cap on fuel prices, many small gas stations have found themselves between a rock and a hard place.
Many stations introduced a limit of 10 litres of fuel per customer, while others closed or asked car owners not to buy gas from them since they now pay more for procuring the gas than they can sell it for.
While some officials of both MOL and the Hungarian government said that there is no shortage of fuel in the country, only localised logistics and supply issues, people in several locations around Hungary swarmed gas stations, created queues of hundreds of metres, and eventually drained many stations of their reserves, Blikk wrote.
One of the reasons for the current supply problems could be the war between Russia and Ukraine since many European countries placed an embargo on Russian oil, greatly decreasing the capacity of refineries.
Similar issues occurred in Maglód, Balassagyarmat, Budapest, and Sopron where Austrian drivers also contributed to the problem, crossing the border to stock up on fuel at a much lower price thanks to the price cap the Hungarian government enacted.
Read alsoFuel supply at risk at Hungarian petrol stations?
Source: Hvg.hu, Blikk.hu
Appears MOL is charging the normal, commercial prices in markets where prices are not distorted by government regulations? Similar prices all over Europe, by the way!