Fuels: the Antitrust rejects the cartel with the regional average price


The issue of expensive fuel and that of the contents of the "transparency decree" which led to the day of the gas station strike, continue to be discussed. During the hearing in the Committee on Activities and Societies production of the Chamber on the rules contained in the transparency decree, the president of the Antitrust, Roberto Rustichelli, expressed some perplexities.

Despite the AGCM has "welcomed a further enhancement of visibility measures; of the prices charged by individual distributors”, at the same time believes “that there is no need to to introduce a mechanism for calculating and disseminating average reference values ​​for fuels, given that the benefits for consumers appear uncertain, in the face of a possible risk of a reduction in competitive stimuli”.

But I do not it is everything, because the president of the Antitrust, Roberto Rustichelli, raises further doubts about the news promoted by the Government with the decree.

The Authority believes that the introduction, for merchants, of the obligation to indicate, alongside the selling price charged, the regional average price calculated by the Ministry, appears likely to also present some possible contraindications.

According to Rustichelli, in fact, “the arithmetic mean of the regional price is very little representative of the actual competitive context in which a fuel distribution plant operates, since a fuel distribution plant is actually in competition only with plants located a few kilometers away”.

In short, according to the Antitrust, the exposure of the regional average price is of little use for the consumer given that the &quot ;regional dimension" it is far exceeding those distributors who could actually be alternatives to a given system.

It could easily occur that, for reasons related to costs and logistics, the density of of distributors, as well as; at the level of demand, the price in a given sub-area is different from the regional average, which would therefore constitute a non-representative indicator of the local situation and, as such, of little use to the consumer.

Furthermore, according to Rustichelli, "the planned double billboards, beyond the possible additional charges for merchants, could even lead to confusion for some consumers.”

Finally, according to the president of the AGCM, "the diffusion of an average regional price among merchants risks reducing the variability of the price. price, as it could be used by companies to automatically converge on a focal price, i.e. a clear parameter to follow in order to avoid a war of discounts that would benefit consumers”.


After the criticisms leveled at the Government on the contents of the transparency decree, the president of the AGCM made know that it is A fact-finding investigation was launched on the competitive dynamics of the automotive fuel supply chain, in order to analyze the price trend and some specific phases of the oil supply chain. For the results of this investigation, according to what was declared, it will take about 2-3 months.

The fact-finding investigation by the Authority is it is aimed at deepening the competitive dynamics of the extraction and refining phases, as well as the to analyze the evolution of prices that occurred in the various phases of distribution, in order to better understand the dynamics of formation and verify the existence of any further spaces for intervention.

Recall that little some time ago, the Antitrust had already launched some investigations against Eni, Esso, IP, Kuwait Petroleum Italia and Tamoil.

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