Gov't Earmarks HUF 18.5 bln for Independent Gas Stations

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The government has allocated HUF 18.5 billion in support for independent petrol stations, state secretary Márton Nobilis said at a press conference on Tuesday, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

Gas station operators may apply for the new support in days and could be awarded the funding already in August, Nobilis said. He noted that the government rolled out a HUF 20-per-liter subsidy for independent gas stations in March.

Nobilis said Gabor Egri, the chairman of the Independent Gas Stations Association (FBSZ), was informed of the transfer of the support.

Egri, who was also at the press conference, acknowledged the government for "hearing our cries of help" and said FBSZ would convene a general meeting at 3:00 in the afternoon to discuss the talks with Nobilis and decide on a position.

FBSZ members earlier said they would close their petrol stations on August 19-20 to raise awareness of the impact of the regulated motor fuel price cap on owners and their families. Members decided unanimously on the two-day closure at a general meeting on Friday, justifying the move citing supply shortages, uncertainty, and late subsidy payments. FBSZ also complained that Hungarian oil and gas company MOL has halved its deliveries to member stations.

Egri said at the press conference on Tuesday that MOL had booked record profit in the first half of the year, while government tax revenue on motor fuel sales reached a new high. At the same time, family-owned SMEs in the retail fuel business were "pushed to the brink", he added.

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