The Government is currently working hard to limit the impact of fuel prices on the final consumer. Faithful to the commitment launched on Sunday by the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, to lower taxes linked to energy, a reduction in the special tax levied on gasoline and diesel at the minimum rate established by the European directive, is today the most feasible option.
At the moment this tax is levied at 400.69 euros for every 1,000 liters of unleaded gasoline, compared to the 359 euros set by the minimum rate of the European directive. This would mean that if each liter would now be taxed at 0.4 euros for this tax, it would be 0.36 euros, a minimal cut, but one that would help moderate the price at an exceptional time together with some other measure that may be studying Finance.
In diesel there is less margin, since compared to the minimum level of 302 euros per 1,000 liters of fuel of the community directive, this tax is currently set at 307 euros per 1,000 liters.
The second way that is being considered to help cut fuel prices in Spain would come from a drop in VAT, currently at 21%. Here the problem would be considerably greater, since it is necessary to have the approval and authorization of Brussels. This is because gasoline is a product that to date is included in the list of goods that must be taxed at the maximum rate.
The Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, yesterday left open the possibility of lowering fuel taxes in order to deal with the energy crisis aggravated by the war in Ukraine. “We are going to study a package of measures, some of them will go through lowering the taxation of some sectors or products,” she said.
Fuels are subject to two taxes: the special tax on hydrocarbons and the value added tax (VAT). The first applies to each liter of fuel and represents 32% of the retail price. The second is set at its maximum rate, that is, at 21%. To this is added the tax on retail sales that was born with a state character, and was ceded to the communities to cover health expenses and environmental actions.
The Spanish Association of Petroleum Product Operators (AOP) pointed out in December last year that of 50 euros in refueling, 23 euros went to taxes, 17 euros to pay the cost of raw materials, 9 euros were the cost of logistics and marketing, and one euro was for the wholesale gross margin.
The State’s collection for hydrocarbons in 2021 experienced a significant increase of 11.3% to 11,492 million euros compared to the 10,326 million collected in 2020. The data shows that this item would be the one that could support a margin to lower its taxation.
Since the war in Ukraine began on February 24, the price of gasoline in Spain has risen 15.5% and diesel 22.7%, according to data from the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Challenge Demographic (MITECO). Last week both fuels chained their tenth consecutive increase and everything indicates that the scenario will be replicated for the eleventh time. Yesterday, 95 octane gasoline reached an average price of 1,869 euros per liter. Diesel followed closely, with an average amount of 1,851 euros per liter.
Consequently, filling a 55-litre petrol tank now costs around 92 euros, some 21 euros more than a year ago. For a diesel car, refueling amounts to about 87 euros, about 22.45 euros more than in the same week of 2021. In addition to individuals, the increase in prices is affecting the productive fabric. In some regions of Spain, industry, fishing and transport have already had to cease their activity, at least partially, due to the increase in fuel prices.
In these moments of high price volatility, the tax collection that the Government obtains for fuel has been criticized in the last week by the opposition. The candidate for the presidency of the Popular Party, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, assured yesterday that “the Government is lining up with the increase in electricity and gasoline” because half of the price is taxes. The employers of the gas stations have requested, in turn, to lower VAT to 10% in order to remain competitive.
New layout. The maximum price of the 12.5-kilogram butane cylinder will increase by 4.96% from this Tuesday, to stand at 18.63 euros. This is established by a resolution published yesterday in the Official State Gazette, which specifies that the new price becomes 121.6989 euro cents per kilogram, not including taxes. The rise is due to the sharp rise in prices of raw materials (14.3%).
Facua. Consumers in Action warns that with this increase, the cylinder will cost 33.5% more than a year ago, for which reason it asks the Government to modify the calculation instruments in the revision of rates, in order to “ensure the protection of the economic interests of consumers. The association also recalls that this is the second consecutive time that butane exceeds its historical maximum, after reaching 17.76 euros in January.
Social Bonus. To compensate for the price increase, the Government approved in October of last year an improvement in the thermal social bond charged to the General Budgets of that year. Under this measure, the compensation for vulnerable consumers, which depends on the climatic zone in which they live, has increased from a minimum of 25 to 35 euros, the equivalent of two cylinders. The maximum has also risen, from 123 to 370 euros.