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Gas station owners advocate for fair pricing amidst diesel subsidy restrictions

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The decision to restrict the amount of Euro diesel available to farmers, aimed at curbing the resale of subsidized fuel, has been welcomed by owners of independent private gas stations. However, they believe it’s just a start.

These gas station owners, organized under an initiative advocating for changes in the current diesel selling methods to farmers, have urgently appealed to the ministries of energy, trade, and agriculture. They’re pushing for an increase in the retail margin from the current 13 to 18 dinars per liter. They argue that this adjustment is crucial for the continued operation and viability of their gas stations.

While expressing gratitude to the ministries for understanding their concerns and acknowledging the government’s efforts to support all businesses, the gas station owners stress that merely limiting diesel sales to 179 dinars at Oil Industry of Serbia (NIS) stations and enhancing card controls are not enough. They emphasize the need for a price revision at other stations where farmers refuel.

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They argue against the discrepancy where Euro diesel is priced at 200 or 204 dinars at some pumps, while farmers pay only 179 dinars with a 50-dinar excise duty refund. This disparity creates unfair competition and financial strain on non-NIS stations.

In addition to addressing pricing concerns, gas station owners remind the ministries of their unresolved issues, such as state assistance to cover operational losses and the need for systemic support to prevent further closures of private gas stations.

Signed by over 50% of gas station owners, the initiative highlights the urgency of reform. Last year alone, around 35 private gas stations closed due to pricing policies favoring NIS.

Responding to the owners’ appeal, the Ministry of Energy has initiated measures to enhance regulations limiting derivative prices using agrocards. These regulations aim to ensure fair access to subsidized fuel while preventing misuse.

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Despite these steps, gas station owners stress the need for further action to address pricing disparities and ensure the viability of independent gas stations. They see fair pricing and regulatory reforms as essential for their survival and the health of Serbia’s fuel market.

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