Fuel is already over two euros a litre in many places. / sur

Spanish fuel station association warns motorists could pay more than three euros a litre at pumps this summer

If the price does reach three euros a litre, filling an average 55-litre tank in Spain will cost 165 euros. Service stations which are run by small and medium-sized businesses in the country are now facing a very difficult situation because of the high prices

PATXI FERNÁNDEZ Madrid

Fuel prices are continuing to rise in Spain and 95-octane and diesel are now over two euros a litre in many places. Now the president of the Spanish Confederation of Service Station Businesses (CEEES), Nacho Rabadán, is warning that prices could pass the barrier of three euros a litre this summer.

“I’m not ruling anything out,” Rabadán said this week, explaining that the refineries have maximised their diesel production because demand greatly exceeds supply and their margin when processing diesel is very high. An additional problem is that demand always increases in the summer, when more people travel, putting even more pressure on supplies.

If the price does reach three euros a litre, filling a 55-litre tank will cost 165 euros,“ and that means that for a vehicle which uses 7 litres per 100 kilometres, travelling 20,000 kilometres a year is going to cost about 4,200 euros, or 350 euros a month,” Rabadán said.

Small and medium businesses suffering

Service stations which are run by small and medium-sized businesses (69.5% of the 11,650 in the country, according to the Ministry of Ecological Transition) are facing a very difficult situation because of the high prices. Reduced use of cars and the 20 céntimo discount per litre introduced by the government are two of the factors that have pushed many of these businesses against the ropes. Compared with 2019, there are now 492 fewer companies in this sector and 1,516 jobs have gone, according to CEEES.

Many consumers do not understand their difficulties because with prices going up every week they assume that filling stations are making huge profits. However, the refunds from the government are proving slow in some cases, with those due in April only being paid this month, and figures from the Ministry of Finance show that 16% of applications have had no response at all. The resulting cash flow problems are “strangling” smaller businesses, according to the sector.

Meanwhile, the OCU consumers organisation says the discount of 20 céntimos per litre of fuel is not having the desired effect of keeping prices down, and that more drastic measures are needed, such as a temporary cancellation of taxes.