Is it really useful to display average petrol and diesel prices?

On January 14, President Sergio Mattarella signed the decree on the transparency of fuel prices, which the Council of Ministers had recently initiated. The provision was published in the Official Gazette. Among the rules that came into effect on Sunday, January 15, is a rule that obliges gas stations to hang a sign at the pump showing the average national fuel price calculated daily by the company ministry. Made in Italy, next to what’s sold at every gas station. In this way, with the intention of the government, the consumer has the opportunity to evaluate the difference between the reference cost of gasoline and diesel and the reference cost adopted by the single station attendant.

Average fuel prices are on a regional basis and are published on the website of the ministry. The decree on price transparency states that “the frequency, methods and timing of communications” will be determined by the same ministry’s decree “to be issued within 15 days from the date of entry into force of this decree”. Gas stations will then have another 15 days to adapt the signs at each point of sale to the new rules. Fines ranging from 500 to 6 thousand euros may be imposed on fuel facility managers who do not report their prices and do not display the averages calculated by the ministry at the point of sale. “After the third violation – the stamped text of the decree on price transparency says – suspension of activity can be ordered for no less than seven days and no more than 90 days.” Evaluation is entrusted to the financial police, and enforcement of sanctions is entrusted to the governor.

Because according to AGCM, it is unnecessary to show the average fuel prices.

However, is it useful to show average gasoline prices? No, at least according to the competition and market authority (Agcm), which rejects the government’s judgment. According to the authority, showing average prices can be useless or even harmful. At the hearing before the Chamber’s production activities commission on the transparency decree on fuel, Agcm president Roberto Rustichelli explained that it is “not necessary” to introduce a mechanism for calculating and disseminating the average reference values ​​for gasoline and diesel. “The benefits for consumers rather than a possible reduction in competitive stimuli seem uncertain”, how much.

The Agcm detailed the reasons for its opposition to the initiative of the Meloni government. According to Rustichelli, “since a fuel distribution facility actually competes with facilities located only a few kilometers away, the arithmetic average of the regional price very little represents the effective competitive environment in which a fuel distribution facility operates”. As a result, Agcm president continued, “For reasons related to costs and logistics, the density of distributors and the level of demand, it can easily turn out that the price in a given sub-area is different from the average. will create an indicator”.

In addition, Rustichelli continued, “Planned double billboards may even confuse some consumers, beyond possible additional fees for merchants.” Furthermore, according to the AGCM chairman, “disseminating a regional average price among traders risks reducing price volatility, as this can be used by companies to automatically converge to a ‘focus price’, i.e. a clear parameter to avoid tracking. ‘discount war’.” Rustichelli noted that the competition authority “welcomes the further strengthening of price visibility measures” through “ministerial surveys and dissemination through traditional or telematic means”.

“Risk of increase in average prices”

Part of the government “side by side” from Agcm. “The competition and market authority’s findings on the transparency ordinance are moving in the direction recently expressed by Forza Italia, a concern we have raised specifically regarding the regional average prices cartel”. Thus Luca Squeri, deputy of Forza Italia, at the end of Agcm’s trial. “The risk – he added – is that this interference could lead to the convergence of the lowest prices to the average level, with increases to penalize consumers. Keeping it in serious condition to make necessary improvements in the parliamentary process”.

Gasoline and diesel prices are rising

At these times, with the new increases in international refined product prices, the recommended fuel prices are starting to rise again. And national averages of prices charged to the pump have also increased: “do-it-yourself” petrol 1,875 Euro/liter, “offered” 2.01 Euro/liter; According to results from Staffetta’s regular daily survey, the 1.92 “do-it-yourself” diesel sells for 2.05 euros/liter. On Friday morning, Eni increased the recommended prices of gasoline and diesel by one cent per liter. For Tamoil, there is an increase of one cent per liter for diesel.

Below are the average prices transmitted by the operators to the Ministry of Economic Development’s price observatory and processed by Staffetta, recorded at approximately 18,000 factories at 8 am yesterday:

  • 1,875 euro/liter self-service petrol (+6 thousandths, companies 1,876, white pumps 1,870), diesel 1,918 euro/liter (+5, companies 1,921, white pumps 1,910);
  • petrol 2,010 euro/liter (+6, companies 2,051, white pumps 1,929), diesel 2,054 euro/liter (+6, companies 2,098, white pumps 1,967);
  • LPG 0.782 euro/liter (unchanged, companies 0.793, white pumps 0.769), methane 2.132 euro/kg (-3, companies 2.144, white pumps 2.123), LNG 2.618 euro/kg (+4, companies 2.652 euro/kg, white pumps 2,592 euro/kg);
  • on motorways: self-service petrol 1,945 euro/liter (2,203), self-service diesel 1,988 euro/liter (2,246), LPG 0,885 euro/liter, methane 2,185 euro/kg, LNG 2,593 euro/kg.

Source: Today IT