The High Court of Justice on Monday rejected a petition from leading fuel companies to prevent the government from reducing marketing margins, a key component in the price of gasoline.

Delek, Dor Alon and Paz had asked the court to cancel directives issued by Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau over the past two years that reduced the marketing margin to its current value of NIS .645 per liter.

The price of one liter of self-service 95-octane gasoline, which is NIS 7.58 in November, is set by the Energy and Water Ministry according to the following components: the cost of oil (NIS 2.84 in November); excise tax (NIS 2.99); marketing margins (NIS 0.65); plus 17 percent VAT on the three aforementioned components.

Judges Salim Jubran, Uzi Fogelman and Noam Solberg wrote in their ruling: “At the heart of the petition – if we strip it of its clothing – stands an attempt by the petitioners to convince us that we should favor their professional opinion on these controversial issues over the opinions of the state’s Price Committee... We are unable to do so.”

The Price Committee, whose recommendations formed the basis for the ministers’ decision, conducted a thorough and comprehensive study before handing in its findings, the judges wrote.

So long as the committee operates within the legal boundaries in which it was established, the court cannot overrule its decisions, they added.

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