Italian Watchdog Probes Petrol Price Hikes

The Italian antitrust authority on Friday said it has asked leading oil companies for information over soaring fuel prices that have led to big hikes for petrol and diesel at the pump.

“Following the extraordinary increase in fuel and gasoline prices registered over the past few days, as well as the many complaints received”, the authority said in a statement that it has forwarded to major oil companies a detailed request for information, with the support of finance police.

The authority said the objective is to “look into the reasons behind such increases and, eventually, to evaluate the existence of areas for possible intervention only in the event of a violation of rules regarding the abuse of a dominant position or agreements restricting competition”.

Read More: The New Transatlantic Attack on High Prices: Price Gouging

As during the first months of the COVID pandemic, the antitrust stressed that it was “careful to monitor the exceptional price increases that are registered sometimes during critical phases and to verify that such phenomena are not the outcome of behavior limiting competition”.

Prices of gasoline in italy have risen by up to 39% in a year, with an upward trend since mid 2021 exacerbated by disruptions from Russia’s invasion of neighbor Ukraine. Russia, one of Europe’s the world’s largest oil producers, has been slapped by heavy sanctions that have greatly affected the global price of fuels.

Italian businesses have called for government action to help control prices, including proposed reductions in taxes and stricter control over the pricing decisions of distributors.

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