Fuel prices in Estonia have once again set record levels.
As of Tuesday, a liter of 95 octane gasoline cost €2.259 per liter at pump, according to the advertised prices at the major filling station chains in the Tallinn area, up from €2.119 last Wednesday – itself a record level.
Similarly, 98 octane gas now costs €2.309 per liter, compared with €2.169 per liter in the second half of last week; diesel meanwhile has risen more modestly in price, to €1.999 per liter, from €1.949.
Mart Raamat, chief of the Estonian Oil Association (Eesti Õliühing), put a strengthening of the U.S. dollar and the virtual disappearance of Russian oil from the market as the main causes of the latest price surge.
Talking to ERR's Vikerraadio, Raamat said: "The dollar has strengthened so much that the last time prices were at the current level of $120 per barrel (the price of oil futures as of Monday – ed.), we felt the effects in terms of euros much less. These are really record prices in Europe."
"Second, it must be understood that pricing at petrol stations is not just about crude oil, but about the price of the final product, i.e. diesel and petrol. These are also goods that are tradable on the commodity markets," he went on, noting that these have risen by even more, not least because while Russia was an exporter of refined oils as well as crude, capacity to refine in Europe and the West has declined in recent years.
Statistics Estonia, a state agency, published new Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for May, which showed not only a 20 percent overall rate of inflation, but also a 55.3 percent rate for gasoline and diesel alone.
While supply may increase, Raamat added, potentially following the easing of restrictions on Venezuela and Iran on the part of the U.S. and a pledge from OPEC countries to up supply, no significant price drops are forecast, exacerbated by the fact that consumption rises by about 20 percent in the summer months – though this upward pressure on prices may ease up come the fall.
Finland's national broadcaster Yle meanwhile reported that gasoline may come to cost as much as €3 per liter in that country in the near future.
Editor: Andrew Whyte