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Orlen, fuel prices. Artur Soboń, Deputy Minister of Finance comments

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– Thanks to Orlen’s policy, we managed to avoid a situation of panic at the end of the year responsibly – said Deputy Finance Minister Artur Soboń in “Rozmowie Piaseckiego” on TVN24. In his opinion, information about a radical increase in prices from the beginning of 2023 would cause people to line up for fuel.

Wholesale fuel prices in PKN Orlen in the first days of the new year dropped sharply. As a result – despite the increase in the VAT rate on motor fuels from 8 to 23 percent. – at the stations we observe the prices of petrol and diesel at the levels from the last weeks.

– Thanks to Orlen’s policy, we managed to avoid panic at the end of the year – commented Deputy Finance Minister Artur Soboń in “Rozmowo Piaseckiego”.

In the opinion of the deputy head of the Ministry of Finance, panic at the stations would occur “because if there was information that prices would increase dramatically from January 1 (2023 – ed.), people would queue for fuel”. – We managed to avoid such crazy ideas as the Hungarian variant and maintain stable prices and a fuel guarantee for refueling customers – emphasized Soboń.

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UOKiK is conducting the proceedings

We could hear similar arguments from the president of PKN Orlen, Daniel Obajtek. The head of the Płock concern indicated on Tuesday in a statement that Orlen is a multi-energy concern that stabilizes fuel prices in the country. As he said, if the concern did not communicate that it would try to maintain prices with the increase in VAT, panic could break out on the market. – If we had not communicated earlier that we would do everything to maintain prices, we would have panic at Polish petrol stations – said Obajtek, referring to the failure to raise retail prices, despite the increase in VAT on fuels on January 1.

According to Urszula Cieślak, an analyst at the Reflex Brokerage House, the reduction of wholesale fuel prices “was an action that was supposed to confirm the announcement that after the New Year drivers will not feel any increases at stations, even though the rate will increase VAT“. In her opinion, it was an “image action”. – It happened at the expense of the fact that (…) we paid (earlier – ed.) more so that nothing would change now – said Cieślak.

On Wednesday, the President of UOKiK, Tomasz Chróstny, was asked in the parliamentary corridor by Radomir Wit, a TVN24 reporter, whether inspections were carried out regarding Orlen’s pricing policy. – We are conducting proceedings in this regard, we will be happy to present any information tomorrow (Thursday – ed.) – said Chróstny. The press conference is scheduled to start at 11 a.m.

Fuel prices in Hungary have skyrocketed

In 2021, the government in Budapest introduced a cap on the price of petrol and diesel at 480 forints ($1.22) per liter. Other fuels were sold at market prices. Lower fuel prices were available to drivers of private vehicles, agricultural vehicles, taxis on Hungarian plates.

At the beginning of December last year, the MOL concern announced that it was facing a shortage of fuel stocks in almost the entire network of gas stations, as many people started making panic purchases. The company reported a “critical situation” and a threat to the security of fuel supplies. The limit on fuel prices was supposed to expire at the end of December 2022.

The Hungarian media wrote about the growing panic, and social networks published photos and reports from numerous gas stations, where drivers stood in long queues in the hope of refueling their vehicles.

Finally – at MOL’s request – the Hungarian government abolished the cap on fuel prices earliera fuel prices skyrocketed.

He then commented on the situation on Twitter Daniel Obajtek, President of PKN Orlen. “Fuel Disaster Hungary it is the result of too much interference in the rules of the free market. Now there is a shortage of fuel there and it is more expensive than at Polish stations. I warned against such a scenario when opposition politicians called for artificially lowering fuel prices.

Main photo source: PAP/Jakub Kaczmarczyk

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