(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The maximum price of a liter of 95 octane gasoline is expected to rise to a record NIS 7.60 at full-service pumps in May, Channel 10 reported on Thursday.
According to the report, the increase will occur partly due to an update in the fuel excise tax, while also taking into account the continuing increase in the cost of oil in world markets. However, the price rise should be mitigated slightly by the continuing fall of the dollar, which is currently at a 30-month low against the shekel.
The government, which supervises prices for fuel sold to the public at gas stations, raised the maximum price to NIS 7.52 at full-service pumps in April, after raising it the previous month by 4% to NIS 7.43. Public anger over rising gas prices has already forced the government to back down at least once this year, when Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz signed a directive cutting the excise tax on gasoline by NIS 0.20 per liter in mid-February.
The previous months’ price increases could have been made even worse had
National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau not decided to suspend
updating the marketing margins of Israeli fuel companies by NIS 0.02 per
liter. The National Infrastructures Ministry’s fuel supervisor Chen
Bar-Yosef is close to completing a study he began one year ago on the
marketing spread, which is currently set at 10% of the government-
mandated price of gasoline.
The price of fuel at gas stations is determined by five components: the
cost of oil, the Finance Ministry’s fuel excise, the marketing margins,
16% value added tax on the three aforementioned components, and an added
flat fee for full service that currently stands at NIS 0.13.
Consumer concern over the rising prices has led to the proliferation of
guides such as the website Fulltank.co.il, which was established by two
university students and allows users to search for which gas stations
offer the lowest prices. According to the website, the lowest price
found this week was at the Tamar gas station in Afula, where petrol cost
NIS 6.99 per liter on Wednesday.
But although the public backlash in Israel is certain to grow, the
situation is not as severe as it is in some European countries, with the
average price of 95 octane hitting as high as 1.749 euros (NIS 8.72)
per liter in the Netherlands this week.
According to fortnightly data compiled by Touring Club Switzerland, an
organization supplying support for stranded vehicles, the price of gas
at the pump in the biggest euro zone countries hovered between 1.360
euros (NIS 6.78) in Spain and 1.648 euros (NIS 8.21) in France. Across
the Atlantic, where prices tend to be much lower, gasoline was being
sold at $3.844 per gallon, translating roughly to NIS 3.46 per liter.
The maximum price set by the government for May will be announced next