Motorists buy fuel at old prices
Several consumers had to purchase their fuel at the usual high price yesterday as a number of petrol stations failed to revise the prices.
Rather than cutting their prices immediately, some petrol stations decided to wait for Enemalta officials to visit their stations to quantify their fuel stock before revising their prices downwards, as announced by the government last Saturday.
Carlo Cini, head of the petrol station owners' section at the Chamber for Small and Medium Enterprises - GRTU, confirmed this had happened. He said such stations were the ones whose owners were not present at a meeting on Sunday and, consequently, were unaware of the decisions taken.
Asked how many stations failed to reduce their prices from the morning, he said he did not have an exact number.
An Enemalta spokesman said there were a few stations that had waited for the corporation's people to check their stock before lowering their prices. He said that, by yesterday evening, all petrol stations would have had their stocks checked.
Several consumers who filled up their petrol tanks yesterday morning called The Times to say they were charged the old price. They wondered whether they would be compensated for the difference.
They said that when the fuel price increased they had to pay the new price from the very next day but when the situation was reversed, the petrol station owners failed to change their prices immediately.
Furious petrol station owners met on Sunday, a day after the government unexpectedly announced it was slashing the price of lead replacement fuel, unleaded petrol and diesel by 20 per cent, leading owners to fear making a loss on the stock they had already bought.
The GRTU is expecting the government to compensate owners for the marked difference resulting from the new fuel prices. Mr Cini said, following the meeting, that he would give the government a week's chance to refund owners. If not, the situation would have to be "reviewed".
Petrol station owners said many had stocked up for the Christmas period and could make losses of between €15,000 and €25,000.
The price of unleaded petrol per litre went down by 25c to 99 cents while the price of lead replacement petrol is €1.06, a reduction of 25c. Diesel now costs 99c a litre, 24c cheaper, and kerosene went down by 30c to €1 a litre.