CNMC controls gas stations’ margins in real time after bonus of 20 cents


National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) After the siege on gas stations narrows Entry into effect of 20 euro cents bonus on 1st April, Since that date, the regulator uses a high-frequency indicator to measure service stations’ margins in real time, comparing costs and selling prices. According to agency sources, the device is intended to try to prevent these establishments from maximizing their profits at the expense of discounts financed from public funds. The high-frequency indicator makes it possible to detect any anomalous developments from day to day, comparing a “fairly accurate estimate” of the supply cost with the retail price.

As of Tuesday of last week, CNMC had detected these bad practices in a hundred points of sale, out of a total of 12,000 across Spain. Of these, two had increased their margins by between 10 and 20 cents as a result of official aid compared to their normal profit percentage; 14 in the case of petrol and seven in the case of diesel did so for between five and ten cents; 69 (gasoline) and 47 (diesel) had increased their margins by between one and five cents; And 41 did so to one euro cent.

These results, the regulator’s sources reveal, are in line with an environment of continued increases in international gasoline and diesel prices—not only because of increased oil prices, but also because of a brutal increase in refining stage costs—and some consumers. are particularly price-sensitive, with inflation already putting a dent in the pocket. “Stations will moderate their uploads to keep the competition going,” he says.

Prices and competition in the fuel sector, indicated by CNMC, “have been a continuing concern since last year’s strong growth and 20 cents from long ago”. However, concerns have skyrocketed in recent times, especially since the fuel has fallen behind the two euro per liter limit, something unimaginable a few months ago, “We are at the top, exchanging information with those responsible for consumption in autonomous communities,” he explains to the body, which so far controls the growth of margins month by month.

In recent weeks, major oil companies have opted for aggressive discounts at their service stations. The movement is allowing them to compete face-to-face on price with low-cost, automated gas stations. The sector believes that in the long run, this commercial policy will bring back customers who opted for independent gas stations and may restrict competition after many years. Petrol pump Less cost They have made their way very fast and have managed to gain a foothold in user preferences,

prices without roof

That conflict between big and small in the last segment of the series, There is no cap on fuel prices in Spain, according to the last eu oil bulletin, published this Thursday, gasoline has already reached an average of 2,142 euros per liter, and diesel at 2,077 euros. This is the amount before the 20 cents exemption that the government has required from April. Even with that help, both fuels are more expensive than they were at the end of March (12 cents for gasoline and 4 cents for diesel) before the mandatory subsidies were implemented.

In the eleven weeks since the measure went into effect, basic prices (without discounts) have continued to rise in Spain and are among the highest in Europe. In fact, four weeks in the case of gasoline and three in the case of diesel, the Spanish volume exceeds the average of twenty-seven. The comparison of each other’s growth is striking: since April gasoline and diesel have become three times more expensive in Spain than in the European Union and the euro area.

uneven development

Bulletin data shows an almost parallel price increase between the last week of February (when Russia invaded Ukraine) and the end of March (before the mandatory discount). In that long month, petrol rose 14.1% in Spain and 12.5% ​​in the European average. diesel becomes expensive: 23.9% in Spain and 23.3% in the European Union. But things changed from April onwards. Since then, the cost of originating gasoline has become more expensive (17.8%) than diesel (13%), and both percentages are far higher than the European average (5.9% and 3.6%) and the Eurozone average. (4.4% gasoline; and 3.3% diesel). In the same period, the reference barrel of crude oil in Europe (the .) brent) has become 3.3% more expensive.

Jordi Perdiguero, Professor of Applied Economics at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, ​​believes the development of prices shows that “Spain has a portion of subsidies that have not reached consumers as the sector’s margins have increased.” The reason for this, experts say, is because “there’s more concentration [empresarial] compared to most EU countries in both refining and distribution”. Antoine Kunyat, associate professor at the UOC, agrees that “part of the subsidies have been absorbed by oil companies”, which would have raised prices, although both point out That it is not possible to know in which part of the process, from refining to distribution retail, such growth has taken place.

The AOP, the employers’ union of oil product operators, rejects this interpretation. A spokesperson defended that the companies were experiencing a “margin narrowing”. “Since April 1, the international price of gasoline has increased by 26.5 cents and in Spain the price before taxes has increased by 26 cents; and in the case of diesel, the price has risen by 25 cents and the price by 20 cents”, he cites. states that “the European Bulletin is not useful for comparing prices because the method of reporting prices is not homogeneous”, something that has “been further distorted” in recent months with various aids.

On the other hand, Juan Luis Jiménez—finishing a study with Joe Periguero and another collaborator, which calculated that margins in this area increased by six cents for diesel and four cents for gasoline—compared. Defends relevance. “What we are seeing is the change, not the price level,” he explains. Although he agrees that the data are lacking—”or those that exist are not public”, he adds—what is known is pointed out in an informal address to a professor at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: “The transfer of subsidies to consumers in Spain is less if there was more competition.

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