The issue of expensive fuel has returned to the fore in recent weeks after the alarms about alleged speculative maneuvers on prices following the government’s decision to stop the cut in excise duties decided by the previous executive. But what exactly do we pay for when we refuel our car at the gas station? To answer the question, it is useful to start from the latest prices photographed by the Ministry of the Environment and Energy Security which records the weighted average of the prices applied by the companies every week: between 1 and 8 January, petrol in self-service mode is from 1.644 to 1.812 euros per liter with an increase of 16.8 cents, while diesel rose from 1.708 to 1.868 euros with an increase of 16 cents.
The main cost items
So let’s start with petrol and the value photographed by Mase: that bar, equal to 1.812 euros, is 58% made up of the tax component (VAT and excise duties) and the remaining 42% of the industrial price. The industrial price includes all the costs associated with the raw material (equal to 0.548 euros), as well as the structure costs (logistics, commercial and administrative), as well as the manager’s margins. This last piece therefore includes the revenues of the distribution chain often ended up in the dock as the main responsible for the price increases at the pump.
Managers’ gross margin
The gross margin is used to cover all primary and secondary distribution costs, but also other charges, such as taxes and fees. And it is in this last segment, which accounts for just under 12% of the entire amount paid at the pump by motorists for petrol and about 8% for diesel, that the operator can intervene to change the price. While on the raw material, equal to 30% of the total cost for petrol and 41% for diesel, international quotations and the euro/dollar exchange effect act.
The benchmark for fuels is in fact represented by the international prices of refined products (the so-called Platts Cif Med), which are valued at the euro/dollar exchange rate of the reference day. Therefore, if the relationship is biased towards the American currency, this ends up affecting the price. From the end of November to today, the Platts price for petrol has decreased by around 6 euro cents per litre, a drop more than absorbed by industrial prices which have in turn fallen by 12 cents. While, on the diesel front, the index contracted by 4 cents and, downstream, industrial prices dropped by 14 cents. This reduction essentially made it possible to metabolise the first cut in the fuel discount decided by the government at the end of November.
The impact of management costs on motorway prices
As for the prices observed on the motorway network, which are on average higher, it must be taken into account that there the lifts are open 24 hours a day. The management costs, therefore, which are reflected in the industrial price are higher and in addition there are royalties to be paid to the section concessionaire. The peaks of 2.5 euros per litre, reported by consumer associations, however, represent sporadic cases and not the reality of the market.
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