Private gas station owners are preparing to hold a car-based demonstration and submit a petition to Viktor Orbán if they are not able to make progress in their negotiations with the government today. They are also in the process of setting up their own interest group over the government-mandated maximum price set on regular gas, ATV News has learned.
The government recently extended its policy of capping the price of fuel at 480 Ft. (US $1.53) per liter until mid-May. If not for the policy, the average price of 95-type gas would otherwise be 520 Ft. ($1.66), and diesel gas would be 535 Ft. ($1.71) per liter.
Gas station operators are hoping to avoid a wave of bankruptcies that may be coming, as they already have to pay more to buy fuel than what they are allowed to sell it for.
444 reported on Saturday that the policy had already forced the first gas station in Hungary to shut down, as the price cap was causing the business to lose half a million forints a month. A similar fate may await hundreds more small filling stations if things do not change.
The National Association of Entrepreneurs (VOSZ) is representing the interests of private gas stations in negotiations with the Ministry of Innovation and Technology.
VOSZ Secretary General László Perlusz believes there could be a breakthrough in talks within a few weeks. He hopes that public money could help share the burden borne by the gas stations, or that directed government aid could go to affected businesses.
The government’s price cap on fuel has been causing serious problems for smaller filling stations for several weeks. Stations close to Slovakia, where fuel is significantly more expensive, have seen many drivers coming across the border to fill up in Hungary, and other stations have had to ration the amount they sell to customers.