Romania continues to look for alternatives to Russian oil, after the European Union reached a compromise to discard most of the oil imports from Russia. Meanwhile, fuel prices continue to grow, considering Bucharest is importing 70% of its oil demand. 40% is imported from Kazakhstan, while 30% from Russia. Although at European level, Romania is one of the countries with the lowest shares of dependency on Russian energy imports, the Government must intervene to put a stop to the string of price hikes sweeping the entire economy. According to the latest European report, also targeting non-EU countries, fuel prices exceeded 2 EUR in nine states, the highest level being reported in Norway, where gas stood at 2.6 EUR, while Diesel stood at 2.3 EUR.
Of the 40 countries analyzed, the lowest prices were reported in Hungary, where fuel was capped at 1.22 EUR. And prices continue to go up. Last month, the government in Bucharest adopted the payment of a 0.10 EUR subsidy per liter of fuel for all haulers and distributors in Romania, although they say this measure is not enough. Still, some 3,000 haulers and passenger transporters will benefit from subsidized fuel prices as part of a 60 million EUR state scheme. Two months ago, the government also discussed the reduction of excise duties and VAT for fuel, although no decision was taken.
According to financial experts, the reason is that the Romanian budget, already facing tremendous pressure from inflation and the poor tax collection rate, cannot risk losing the only certain revenues derived from the payment of excise duties or VAT for fuel. Under these circumstances, transporters have called on the authorities to urgently cap the prices for fuel, similar to the model in neighboring states, warning that new month fuel prices might again go up. The Federation of Romanian Haulers announced protests will be staged in filling stations across the country, urging businesses to support their actions by any legal means possible. The first protests have already been staged across the country. In Botoșani, for instance, the local media reports that several drivers have deliberately blocked access to a filling station, refueling only a few milliliters of gas and then cleaning their windshields, thus delaying the filling process. A similar action was staged in Târgu Jiu, where drivers stopped in filling stations only to wash their windshields. The protest action was distributed on social media. (VP)