Fuel prices could rise in Estonia next week if tensions between Iran and the US escalate, Alexa Estonia board member Alan Vaht said, and even if they do not an increase is expected this spring.
Vaht said: "If the tension continues, the price of fuel on the world market is likely to remain at that level, or even higher. And in that case, one might think that a price increase somewhere at the beginning of next week could also materialize in Estonian filling stations. However, if the tensions ease and the prices fall, we may not even notice an increase in the Estonian fuel market."
Vaht said the same situation occurred in September when Saudi Arabia's oil facilities were attacked. "Then world market prices rose 20 percent in the first few seconds of the opening of the markets on Monday. But, then prices came back down and the end result was the price increase in Estonian filling stations was even smaller than the world market price increase."
Price increase expected in Spring
Vaht stressed that in the spring, or possibly before, a significant increase in prices could be expected at Estonian gas stations.
"On January 1, there was one big change that will significantly affect the Estonian fuel market and prices at petrol stations. While last year's biofuel obligation was 6.4 percent, from January 1 it has risen to 10 percent under the Liquid Fuel Act. That's one reason, but another factor, is there is one law that is even stricter about the bio-obligation, the Atmospheric Air Protection Act (2017), which obliges fuel suppliers to supply fuels with a six percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and a far greater obligation than the ten percent energy requirement in the Liquid Fuel Act. Its impact will also be reflected in fuel prices at some point," said Vaht.
He said that due to this somewhere between two and 2.5 cents a liter would be added as an additional fuel surcharge. "I dare to believe that somewhere in January, this additional impact of the biofuel obligation price might be reflected at Estonian filling stations," Vaht said.
He added that the sulfur requirement of ocean-going marine fuels is another important factor affecting the fuel market globally. "This has created additional demand for diesel fuel and has already pushed up diesel prices in the market. Its effects are likely to start to materialize and diesel will become more expensive," said Vaht.
An additional factor he said, is the decision by Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia to extend and increase the cut in oil production, which will last until March and push-up prices.
Vaht said that all of the above factors would ensure that by March higher fuel prices are likely to be seen at Estonian filling stations.
Editor: Helen Wright