‘Petrol miracle’ in real dimension
Motor fuel prices in Belarus absolutely among the lowest across all of Europe
By Yuri Chernyakevich
Oil prices have been high globally for quite some time, affecting petrol prices. However, Belarusians are fortunate in enjoying modest fuel prices, compared to others across Europe.
Russian RIA-Novosti News Agency has rated petrol prices all over Europe, finding a slight fall in EU prices last year (of 2.6 percent) — thanks to lower oil prices. The most expensive petrol was sold in Norway (RON-95 at $2.50 per litre) followed by Italy ($2.20) and the Netherlands (over $2). Customs Union members (Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan) closed the list. Of course, Russia produces huge volumes of crude oil. Belarus’ petrol ‘miracle’ is the result of the quality and volume of our oil-processing sphere.
The opinion of Russian analysts is confirmed by the Dean of the Belarusian State University’s Economics Faculty, Mikhail Kovalev, who explains that our low fuel prices are the result of efficiency at our Novopolotsk and Mozyr oil refineries. “These two enterprises annually process around 21m tonnes of Russian oil, for which we pay a relatively low price. Accordingly, refinery products — such as petrol and other fuel and lubrication materials — enjoy modest prices,” he emphasises.
RIA-Novosti states that fuel prices rose steadily throughout 2013 across the Customs Union: in Belarus, they rose by over 20 percent and in Russia by almost 6 percent, with only a slight increase registered in Kazakhstan. Mr. Kovalev believes that Belarus may see a further slight rise, saying, “Fuel prices all over the Customs Union are likely to stabilise. Although the EU is asking Russia to raise its domestic oil prices, it won’t lose its major competitive advantage so Belarus shouldn’t fear a sharp increase in petrol prices.”
RIA-Novosti’s calculation of the volume of fuel possible to purchase on average European salaries sees Luxembourg residents taking the lead (as of early 2014) with 2,400 litres a month. Norway (known for having the highest fuel prices in Europe) is placed second, with citizens able to afford 2,300 litres on average. The UK is in third place, with 1,764 litres. Bulgarians can buy just 215 litres: the lowest figure. Ukraine and Romania close the bottom three while Belarusians can buy around 346 litres of RON-95 each month with an average salary.