(photo credit: Associated Press)
The increase in excise and higher crude-oil costs sent the price of gasoline soaring in Israel at the
beginning of the year, igniting a wave of public protest that reached the
Knesset. The Knesset Research Department published its first ever special report
on the issue, ahead of a meeting by the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee,
chaired by Likud MK Carmel Shama.
The report states that the average
price of gasoline in 15 Western European countries was 1.15 euros per liter in
December 2010, while in Israel, gasoline cost 1.41 euros per liter – a
difference of almost 25 percent. The price of gasoline in Israel rose even more
in January, following the excise hike, to 1.52 euros per liter.
Knesset Research Department says the price of gasoline comprises three elements:
the gate price at refineries (representing the price of oil), the marketing
margin of fuel companies and taxes.
The comparative study found that the
marketing spread for the fuel companies in Israel, which reflects their
marketing and fuel-delivery expenses and their profit from the sale of fuel, was
80% higher than in the European countries. Europeans pay 0.10 euro per liter for
this factor, while Israelis pay 0.18 euro per liter.
“This means that
Israeli consumers pay the fuel companies NIS 0.43 per liter more for the
transportation and marketing of fuel, amounting to NIS 1.5 billion a year,”
The excise factor is also higher in Israel than in Europe:
Israelis pay 0.78 euro per liter in excise, 18% more than the 0.67 euro per
liter paid by Europeans. These figures are for December, before the government
raised the excise.
The study found that the price of gasoline in Israel
has risen 53% since January 2005. The situation for diesel is even worse; its
price rose 97% over the same period.
More than 100 drivers set out from
Glilot Junction to the Finance Ministry in Jerusalem on Monday to protest
against rising fuel prices.
Some of them beeped their horns along the
way, and other drivers who identified with their cause followed
suit.Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.