picture of gas pump

According to the opposition, the government’s announcement of a cap on regular gas and diesel prices at 480 Ft. (US $1.50) per liter will not compensate the population for the combination of high inflation and a weak forint, reports Azonnali.

Minister Gergely Gulyás announced at a Government Information session that the price cap would apply for three months starting on Monday, and that it would force the closure of gas stations who do not comply with the new regulation.

Azonnali notes that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told Kossuth Rádió two weeks ago that capping gas prices would be a risky move as it could cause disruptions in the market, and that share prices in state oil and gas company MOL did indeed fall after the news was announced.

Sándor Burány from the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) told the news outfit that “capping gas prices only treats the symptoms.”

“The government is only remedying what it has partially caused, since a 27% VAT and weak forint are responsible for gas prices in addition to global market trends, and it can do something about those,” he said.

Burány believes that the government should address overall inflation, and that since cooking oil, like fuel, has seen price hikes of 30%, the government would be justified in capping that as well.

MSZP’s press department also told Azonnali, “we have said many times in recent days that the price of petrol is unsustainable and that immediate government intervention is needed. The Fidesz government has finally realized that we are right, we do not know what took them so long to make a decision.”

In a video uploaded to social media, Jobbik President Péter Jakab said that the party had demanded for weeks that a price cap and cut on the excise tax on gas be implemented. Now, “the government has backed down,” he claims, although the party still demands at a temporary suspension of the 27% VAT and gas excise tax.

Hungary’s Green Party, LMP, “does not in any way consider the price cap regulation on fuel prices to be a sustainable solution in the long run.”

According to LMP, “the current government, or rather the next government,” should work out a sustainable solution “by developing public transport, reducing the use of fossil fuels, and developing differentiated support systems that take account of need.”

[Azonnali]

By Steven N.

Steven is the editor-in-chief of Hungarian Politics. He has been following the political scene in Hungary and the Central European region more or less since 1994.