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Large influx at gas stations on the first day of discounts: “The computer system is stuck, we can’t charge” | Economy

A carrier pumps gas into the car he works with on the first day of the government discount on fuel prices.
A carrier pumps gas into the car he works with on the first day of the government discount on fuel prices.Aitor Sol

Henri Russo doesn’t remember the last time he waited nearly an hour to refuel. He is an autonomous transporter and travels more than 200 kilometers every day to deliver mattresses in the community of Madrid. The rise in fuel prices has put a hole in his pocket. “Before he would throw 10 euros at him every day and he could put up with it calmly. Now it takes more than double. It’s horrible,” he notes. This Friday the bonus of 20 cents per liter of fuel becomes effective, which will be in force until June 30, with an extendable character. The queues at the service stations have not been long in coming. As of early morning, some had already supplied many more customers than normal. These have not missed the opportunity to breathe a sigh of relief at the bite of the price escalation.

At the Repsol station in the San Blas neighborhood (Madrid) the cars have not stopped arriving since eight in the morning. The operator, Luis Martínez, is forced to fire some customers: “The computer system is clogged by the number of transactions and we cannot charge you.” Antonia, a taxi driver, is a client of the company and has tried for more than an hour to get gas at one of the brand’s stations. “I have had to go to the competition, because they are all collapsed,” she says.

At the other gas stations in the area, traffic is also high, although it depends on the times. At Cepsa, queues were observed this morning between 8:00 and 9:00, and it is expected that they will be repeated this Friday afternoon. “It is not continuous traffic, but there are waves. In recent days, we have noticed less influx than normal, as everyone was waiting for the discount to fill the deposit, “says an operator.

Customers obtain the bonus directly at the pumps, despite the fact that the monoliths did not show the updated downward rate. The reduction is distributed by the Government, which contributes 15 cents, and the oil companies, with another 5 cents at least. With the exception of small and medium suppliers, which represent about a third of the market, since in this case it will be the Executive who will assume the full discount.

In fact, only three oil companies will have to provide this supplement: Repsol, Cepsa and BP. A week ago, these companies announced a discount of 10 cents, so, in practice, they already met the requirement of the five cents discount at their expense. However, these discounts were conditional on the participation of customers in loyalty programs, while as of this Friday the discount is running in general.

Collapse of the Repsol collection system during the first day of the fuel discount.
Collapse of the Repsol collection system during the first day of the fuel discount.Aitor Sol

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The price of fuel reflects the tensions in the international energy markets. According to the European Union Oil Bulletin published this Thursday, a liter of diesel has become more expensive by 2.2% compared to last week, reaching an average amount in Spain of 1,837 euros. In the same way, gasoline is more expensive than last week, but its rise is much more moderate (0.3%), and it is paid on average at 1,818 euros per liter. The information screens of the service stations illustrated more expensive prices last weekend, although in the days prior to the entry into force of the reduction they have remained stable in most of them and, in some cases, they have dropped a few cents. .

Complications in the application of the discount

The application of the reduction has not been carried out without difficulties. At twelve o’clock, a small group of people went to the Repsol service station in the Madrid neighborhood of Cuatro Caminos to be the first to take advantage of the discount. Vicente (65 years old) is the first in line. “Has the discount already jumped?” He asks the operator, who nods. “Hala, to fill the tank!”, ditch satisfied.

The enthusiasm soon fades. A few seconds later, the gas station attendant warns him that the offer still cannot be executed and he is forced to stop the service. “We will reopen as soon as the discount can be applied. We don’t know if it will be in 10 minutes, in two hours or more. Until now we can’t sell”, he comments, before putting up traffic cones at the station entrance to block access.

Twenty minutes later the activity resumes. Rafael Vega is the first customer at this gas station to benefit from the reduction. “I have asked for 30 euros of gasoline and they have taken four turkeys from me. Something is something”, he points out, while showing the reci that reflects his saving. The BOE specifies that service stations have to provide evidence of the discount on the receipt. However, they have a period of fifteen days to make this reference mandatory.

The rise in gasoline prices forced Rafael to readjust his expenses. “As of this month I have already had to give up the garage. I can’t afford to pay the rent. The taxi sleeps outside, ”he assures. He travels about 250 kilometers every day and refuels every two. He has been aware of the cost increase for a year. But the escalation of recent months has been more difficult to digest. Compared to the end of 2021, filling the tank is now 16 euros more expensive.

Stable prices in Barcelona

In Barcelona, ​​the prices marked by the monoliths have barely moved or have even dropped between last Tuesday – when the aid package was given the green light – and this Friday. At the gas station on Carrer de Roc Boronat, in Poblenou, diesel and unleaded have cost 1,749 euros per liter since that day. Nearby, on Carrer de Taulat, diesel cost 1.81.9 euros on Tuesday and 1.82.9 euros without lead. On Friday it was cheaper: 1.79.9 euros in both cases. The same thing happened in the center of the city, on Diputació street with Roger de Flor, where prices are higher. There, the price of gasoline has fallen ten cents to 1,945 euros per liter. In a station located in the center of Terrassa (Barcelona), the price dropped the same amount, from 1,879 to 1,869 euros. At a gas station in Tarragona, the rates also drop from 1,869 to 1,829 euros per liter.

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