Gas station 521.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The Knesset Economics Committee called Monday for the government to make more of
an effort to combat the soaring price of 95-octane gasoline, which hit a record
NIS 7.95 per liter on Thursday.
The Energy and Water Ministry initially
increased the maximum price to NIS 8.05 on the back of soaring global oil prices
and the depreciation of the shekel against the dollar. However, Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu issued a last-minute order to reduce the excise from NIS 2.96
to NIS 2.86.
Israel’s gasoline excise is 10 agorot higher than the
European average when taking into account purchasing power, according to a
Knesset Research and Information Center report commissioned by Economics
Committee chairman Carmel Shama-Hacohen (Likud) and presented at Monday’s
There was no reason why prices in Israel should be higher than
the European average, Shama-Hacohen said at the meeting. He urged the state to
ensure basic products remain affordable, even if this means missing out on tax
Shama-Hacohen applauded steps already taken by the government,
such as lowering the excise and reducing the marketing margin last year, but
added: “It must be understood that the state cannot supply cheap gasoline in the
long term, but every effort must be made to ease the public burden.”
Ya’acov, deputy director-general of finance and development at the Israel Tax
Authority, told the committee that in addition to bringing NIS 15 billion into
state coffers every year, gasoline taxes have another purpose: Gasoline
pollutes, creates congestion on the roads and causes illness and other problems
that cannot be treated without excise revenues.
Meanwhile, the Energy and
Water Ministry published data on Monday showing that consumption of 95- octane
gasoline in Israel and the Palestinian Authority rose 10 percent yearon- year to
231 million tons this January.
This was despite gasoline costing NIS 7.44
at Israeli gas stations in January, 17 agorot higher than in the same month the