Independent gas station owners are sounding the alarm: they warn of a possible sharp rise in retail prices for gasoline, which will occur not only because of the negative impact of coronavirus, but because of the future shortage of finished fuel caused by the reckless actions of the authorities. To increase tariffs for gas stations would be forced sellers, as many of them now have to release the fuel at a loss. Experts still advise not to rush things: serious fuel demand will recover very slowly, so the vendors probably will be more profitable to sell more gasoline, rather than put customers off with high prices.

Independent gas station owners, publicly raising the question of a possible increase in retail gasoline prices, mostly try to pay attention to their problems arising due to reducing the consumption of fuel in connection with the epidemic of the coronavirus and then declared a self-imposed isolation. The demand for fuel in our country has seriously declined — many Russians quarantine not allow to leave the house and take advantage of their own cars. The same applies to businessmen who on the one hand, I had the opportunity to save on transportation services; on the other, lose significant revenues.

In particular, according to the study of the operator’s fiscal data, “the First CRF”, only for the first half of April, sales of gasoline in the country fell by almost a third (31%). In the second half of the month, the trend continued: in some regions, for example, in the southern Federal district, the volume of fuel purchases decreased by almost half.

After consumption has decreased and oil production: according to CDU TEK, a manufacturer of gasoline in April fell more than 33% and diesel fuel by 16%. In order to ensure balance of supply and demand, the energy Ministry and Federal Antimonopoly service in late April twice lowered the threshold of mandatory stock sales fuel producers: in the next two months the oilers will be able to reduce their supply of gasoline at the St. Petersburg commodity exchange to 5%, and diesel — up to 3%.

And it is on this exchange platform and purchased by owners of independent gas stations, who believe that such a decision into the hands of only major oil companies that provide fuel to the exchange. Reducing compulsory deliveries in June threatens to cause fuel shortages in the wholesale markets, and further increase in retail prices. According to the head of the Independent fuel Union Pavel Bazhenov, interruptions in fuel supplies to the exchange, and a corresponding increase in wholesale prices will lead to lower and modest income small networks. In such a situation, the Russian independent setand filling stations, whose share in the retail fuel market of Russia is over 50%, will be forced to raise prices to maintain profitability of their business.

How capable increase the price of motor fuel at the end of the year difficult to predict. Currently, export prices are falling, and domestic consumption fell sharply. Oil companies reduced production: it is not profitable to increase sales abroad European depots are overcrowded, so capitalize on export will not work. And domestic sales at higher prices could lead to new claims by the Kremlin because President Putin has already warned that the cost of fuel shall not exceed the rate of inflation, which is currently projected by year-end 2020 of $ 3.8-4.8% per annum.

Interviewed by “MK” experts believe that the problem raised by owners of independent gas stations is quite relevant. This is the feature Rossiyskogo fuel market: the gasoline may be in short supply and even more expensive when the oil around oceans, and its price is at historically low levels.

“Big oil companies and their trade structures theoretically can assign custom margins for petroleum products. With its view of the cost of fuel will not rise above inflation. However, independent gas stations, who in exchange the deficit will have to buy their gasoline, will be forced to assign a low premium, it is only necessary to support the minimum required profitability, and on the development in this case will have to forget” — suggests the investment Manager of the company “Opening Broker” Timur Nigmatullin.

However, according to the expert, there is another option in which the heavy fraction will fall on the shoulders of ordinary consumers. The rising cost of gasoline to independent gas stations, especially in the regions, it will be possible for some time to close my eyes and only a few months later to conduct an antitrust investigation of the reasons why in some areas the cost of fuel rose in price faster than inflation. “To such practices, our officials have resorted more than once, and often she was allowed to go dry from the water, shifting all the responsibility on small businesses” — reminds the analyst.

however, according to the head of the club venture investors ITLEADERS Egor of Lapenko, peculiarities of regulation of gasoline prices in the domestic market should not lead to an increase in the cost of gasoline for consumers. “Now palenie fuel prices on the world market kompensiruet at the expense of the end user. Win the state and oil companies, and the losers — the population of the country. Even if the laws can actually lead to higher prices for gasoline subject to the historically low cost of oil, so you need to change the laws and not to bring them into frames��creation,” — said the expert.