Competition watchdog trying to get to the bottom of fuel market workings

Gas stations in Tallinn. Prices from October 2018.
Gas stations in Tallinn. Prices from October 2018. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Estonian Competition Authority launched an analysis of the motor fuels retail and wholesale market last fall to try and understand its inner workings. The results are expected in 18 months.

Evelin Pärn-Lee, director general of the Competition Authority, said that the watchdog is in the middle of an economic analysis that is not directly aimed at finding signs of violations.

"The aim is to understand how the Estonian fuel market works," Pärn-Lee said, adding that the agency plans to render the entire analysis process as transparent as possible to allow market participants and consumers to see how the market functions.

"We hope our analysis will also shed light on price formation and whether it is true that while world market oil price hikes are translated immediately into fuel prices in Estonia, the price of oil falling only reflects in Estonian gas stations after a delay," the watchdog's director said.

The study will take place in stages and started by phrasing topics, hypotheses and questions. Questionnaires were sent out to nine leading retail and wholesalers in Estonia. The Competition Authority is also looking to collect information on the profitability of fuel sales and other gas station services, how world market oil prices reflect in the retail price in Estonia, the effect of loyalty systems on the competition situation, international supply sources etc.

The final report of the analysis will likely be published in the second half of 2024 as such analyses usually take 12-18 months.

The Estonian Competition Authority exercises supervision in the fields of competition, natural gas, district heating, postal services, public water supply and sewerage and railways. 


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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