Several media outlets reported that some petrol stations had to close down because of serious disruptions in the supply chain over the weekend. The same has already happened in late February and early March when panic buying hit the petrol stations due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, this time the reason is domestic: the government’s new rules prohibit car owners with foreign license plates to purchase price-capped (cheaper) petrol.
As we reported earlier, starting from Friday midnight, cars with foreign licence plates cannot buy petrol at the capped price of HUF 480 (EUR 1.21). However, there is one exception. If the petrol is officially priced (hatósági áras) in a foreign country, the car with the registration number of that country can still fill up with fuel at the official price in Hungary. Right now, cars with Serbian and Slovenian registration plates may be exempt from the regulation.
Filling stations had only a couple of hours to adapt to the new rules, which caused problems in some cases.
The deadline for introducing the new system was yesterday. However, the Association of Independent Petrol Stations (Független Benzinkutak Szövetsége, FBSZ) said that it was too short notice to implement the new rules. János Egri, the chairman of the association, believes that the government’s new discriminatory regulation will result in numerous court trials.
Meanwhile, supply disruptions have occurred again in Hungary. People cannot buy diesel at several filling stations, or in some cases, they can purchase only the premium version at the market price. A number of stations have run out of all types of fuel. Shell Hungary said that the supply shortage was only temporary, and the reasons behind it were increased demand and finite capacities.
MOL wrote that due to last week’s shopping rush, customers might face supply shortages in some places. However, they do their best to maintain continuous support to all stations.
On Monday, some media outlets reported that a number of Shell filling stations did not even open because of the petrol shortage. Shell clarified in a statement later that the news was false and all their stations were operating normally. Nevertheless, it can happen that they might run out of certain products in some places – portfolio.hu reported.
They added that Hungarian and non-Hungarian car owners were able to purchase petrol at every petrol column in 112 stations. Meanwhile,
in 80 stations, there were different pumps for customers who were eligible to buy price-capped petrol and for those who were not.
Regarding the reasons, they said that their IT system was under maintenance.
Shell added that they allowed purchases for a maximum of HUF 25,000 (EUR 63.22) per transaction (the number of transactions per day was unlimited) at some fuel stations close to the border. HERE is a list of those stations. Moreover, customers were able to buy petrol for a maximum of HUF 50,000 (EUR 126.43) per transaction (the number of transactions per day is unlimited) at 55 stations.
Customers who wish to purchase fuel cans are only allowed to buy 10 litres per day, at the market price, even if they have a Hungarian car registration certificate.
Index.hu wrote that the double pricing caused significant issues at the automatic petrol stations. Nevertheless, all customers can buy fuel at the market price at these stations. Once the central reprogramming takes place, the bar code on the Hungarian registration certificate changes the market price to the capped one. Otherwise,
customers can ask the operator of the petrol station about the price difference upon showing the invoice, the registration certificate and their ID.
OMV said that they had successfully adapted to the new regulations by Friday evening. They added that they had four automatic stations. However, they reestablished cash desks at these stations to comply with the government’s decree, 24.hu reported.
MOL said that all of their stations were operating normally. They also have automatic petrol pumps, and customers can pay in the store. Drivers can purchase a maximum of 100 litres of petrol per day. Furthermore,
they can buy 20 litres of standard fuel cans at the capped price if the car’s registration certificate is Hungarian.
Source: Blikk, 24.hu, portfolio.hu, index.hu, DNH