Hungary’s MOL cuts refuelling limit for passenger cars

BUDAPEST, June 24 (Reuters) – Hungarian energy group MOL (MOLB.BU) says it restricts car drivers to buying 50 liters of fuel a day at their petrol stations from Friday, halving the previous limit to prevent disruption caused by government price cap.

MOL, which owns the country’s largest network of petrol stations, has called for a phasing out of the government’s price cap, which sets the retail price for both 95-octane petrol and 480 forints ($ 1.27) for diesel per liter.

The restriction, introduced in mid-November, was part of Prime Minister Victor Orban’s government’s efforts to protect Hungarians from inflation, which is now at its highest level in two decades. The restriction was extended until the beginning of October and is limited to cars with Hungarian license plates, leading to a conflict with the European Union. Read more

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“We have introduced this restriction (for refueling) … so that we can ensure security of supply,” MOL spokeswoman Piroska Bakos told Reuters, adding that buyers who refuel are no longer eligible. for limited price fuel.

MOL Chairman and CEO Zsolt Hernadi said in April that maintaining a price cap, now well below current market prices, could lead to a shortage of supplies.

Friday’s announcement is the latest sign that fuel market interference has affected the balance of supply and demand. Austria and Hungary have released some of their strategic fuel reserves in recent weeks to stabilize the market.

MOL spokesman Bakos said fuel demand has typically increased by about 30-40% in the summer due to tourism and the agricultural season, which boosts demand for diesel. But the price cap has reduced fuel imports, which MOL must now offset.

(1 dollar = 379.2200 forints)

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Report by Krisztina Than and Gergely Szakacs; Edited by Edmund Blair

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