Two months after the state definitively rolled back subsidies of 20 cents a liter on gasoline and diesel, oil companies are preparing to do the same with the 10 cents with which they complemented that measure. Sources at Repsol, the largest company in the sector in Spain, confirm to EL PAÍS that the discount – which until now was only linked to its Violeta loyalty program – will be limited from March 31 to customers who have used other services (power, electricity , heating, solar, electric mobility…) with the company.
Although both Cepsa and BP have given no indication of what they will do, judging from what happened in late December—when they raised 10 cents after the central government ended subsidies—everything indicates that Those steps will follow Repsol’s rules. , “We are assessing what to do, there is still no decision on the matter,” says a spokesperson for the first. “We’re evaluating different scenarios,” he points to another, which opens the door for the rebate to become three cents before the executive began implementing public subsidies last spring.
“Repsol has always given discounts, although not as universal as last year, and it will continue to give them, although with the novelty that they will be offered to customers of all our energy products,” explains a company spokesperson. , “Customers will be able to avail savings of up to 20 cents per litre, depending on the number of products they consume and as long as they pay with Violet,” he says, recalling that It happened that it was the first operator to institute these discounts. Voluntarily, on 16 March 2022, when the Russian invasion of Ukraine wreaked havoc on fuel prices.
In late December, when the government confirmed the 20-percent aid would not continue, oil companies announced they would increase their share “all winter”. In other words, until March 31, the deadline set by the three largest Spanish automotive fuel supply companies. If one of them were to stand apart, its margins would suffer, but in turn it could lose market share.
The operator with the largest number of service stations in Spain is Repsol, with around 27% of the total. CEPSA is close to 12%. and BP and Gallup, about 6% and 5%, respectively.
The discount has dealt a powerful blow to the fuel retail market. Price matching with your competitors Less cost, has also allowed them to recover part of the market share lost in recent years. At a cost, of course: 500 million euros in Repsol’s case, as highlighted in its latest results presentation. Money that it has been able to finance without problems, thanks to the record performance of its exploration and production businesses, and—most of all—refining. Now, after the reversal of the 20 per cent bonus, the low cost service stations will once again be cheaper than the branded ones.
Today, a liter of petrol is paid on average at Spanish service stations for 1.62 euros, compared with 1.59 for diesel, according to the latest figures. EU Oil Bulletin, A statistic to which it should be added that, in the case of larger ones, the 10 cents discount is still in force. A year ago, just before the government introduced a 20-percent subsidy and the sector’s big companies followed suit, a liter paid – respectively – 1.84 and 1.82 euros.
On 14 December, the National Commission for the Market and Competition (CNMC) announced the launch of an investigation into Repsol, Cepsa and BP for possible anti-competitive practices in their rebates following a number of complaints from independent gas station operators. They accused the big oil groups of violating competition rules with their “aggressive” discount policy to end customers and high prices applied in the wholesale sale of fuel (they are also the supplier of most of these independent gas stations, often private ones). label) . The combination of both factors, he argued, was driving small firms out of the market. Spain’s biggest oil company, however, distances its decision from those investigations launched by the regulator.
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