(photo credit: Associated Press)
Knesset’s and the Treasury’s agenda next week, after the maximum price of
full-service 95-octane rose to a record NIS 7.95 per liter Thursday.
Energy and Water Ministry initially set the maximum price for March at NIS 8.05,
an increase of 38 agorot, but Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a
last-minute order to reduce the fuel excise tax by 10 agorot. The price is
determined by five components: the cost of oil, excise tax (now NIS 2.86),
marketing margins, value-added tax and a full-service fee (NIS 0.21).
Finance Ministry would formulate proposals in the coming months to solve the
gasoline issue, Netanyahu’s office said in a press release announcing the
The Economics Committee said it would meet Monday to
discuss the government’s policy and find ways to reduce the cost to
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Energy and Water Minister Uzi
Landau and Prime Minister’s Office director-general Harel Locker have all been
“The United States, with all its budgetary difficulties and
despite the fact that gasoline already costs tens of percentage points less than
in Israel, is deliberating emergency steps to reduce the price even further,”
Economics Committee chairman Carmel Shama-Hacohen said in a press statement.
“Only in Israel does the Treasury repeat the same mistakes, displaying
uncompromising and extreme stubbornness, so that each time a tank is refilled at
the gas station it also refuels the tank of last summer’s protest movement [over
the cost of living].”
Meanwhile, Steinitz warned that the price of
gasoline could reach NIS 10 in the near future.
He ruled out changing tax
policy to prevent each increase, adding that as unpleasant the increase is, it
is a consequence of the spike in global oil prices caused by the tightening of
sanctions on Iran.
“We are the ones urging everybody to toughen sanctions
to prevent Iran from posing a nuclear threat to us and to the world, and to some
extent we are paying the price for this policy,” Steinitz told Yediot Aharonot
from Beijing, where he was on an official visit. “The aim is to prevent Iran
from exporting oil altogether. If this happens, the price of gasoline will reach
NIS 9 or 10, and we will have no choice but to deal with it.”
record price, Israelis still paid less for gasoline on Thursday than most
Italian motorists paid 1.81 euros (NIS 9.1) per liter, while
motorists in Germany, France and the United Kingdom – the continent’s three most
populous countries – paid 1.64 euros to 1.65 euros (NIS 8.28- NIS 8.33). The
average across all 27 EU member states was 1.53 euros (NIS 7.72).