Petrol, back to the signs. Those with average fuel prices that are once again mandatory, at least for the moment. Petrol pump managers are required – again – to display and update them daily. The Council of State has in fact accepted the request of the Ministry of Business and Made in Italy and suspended the sentence of the TAR of Lazio, which had annulled the ministerial decree on cartels for procedural issues. The last word has not yet been said and the hearing for the examination on the merits is set for 8 February 2024. In the meantime, the signs must be displayed again.
They were introduced by the fuel decree on August 1st to curb price increases and speculation, then rejected at the beginning of November by the TAR and now reinstated, provisionally. At the height of the chaos, the managers’ associations, including Fegica and Figisc, promoters of the cause, have instructed petrol stations, in recent weeks, to continue to display the signs that should have indicated the average prices but leaving them empty, without figures. Many managers, however, continued to update the average prices and they received the thanks of the ministry led by Adolfo Urso, who in a note underlined that «in this phase of uncertainty they still applied the rule suspended by the Lazio Regional Administrative Court, thus guaranteeing the full effectiveness of the instrument”.
According to Mimit, the results would have been there and how. According to the ministry, thanks to the cartels with average prices there has been a “significant reduction” in the distribution margin in Italy, for the first time lower than that of other large European countries and a third lower than that of last year. There would also have been a drop in prices which for petrol, in two months, reached around 20 cents per litre, bringing it to the lowest national average value of the year on the road network, 1.802 euros per litre.
Of the opposite opinion, the National Consumers Union spoke of a null effect on the prices of the measure, as demonstrated by the fact that after the suspension of the TAR on 10 November the prices of both petrol and diesel continued their decline. “For there to be a result on prices, if anything, transparency and perfect information are needed, which is not given by the publication of a regional average price, which is actually distorted and misleading information given that, as also supported by the Antitrust, a plant is actually competing only with the plants located a few kilometers away”, states the president of the UNC, Massimiliano Dona, asking instead for the creation of the app with the prices of the different plants, which was also foreseen by the fuel decree