Hungarian government scraps year-old ceiling on fuel prices

Dec 6, 2022, 5:39 PM | Updated: 6:06 pm
A driver fills up his car while sign on pump reads 'Dear Costumers! You can purchase only 2 liters ...

A driver fills up his car while sign on pump reads 'Dear Costumers! You can purchase only 2 liters of fuel at the regulated price!' in Martonvasar Hungary, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. Drivers in Hungary are running into fuel shortages at filling stations as a government-imposed price cap on fuel squeezes independent stations and leaves the state energy company struggling to keep up with demand. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky)

(AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky)

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary’s government cancelled a state-imposed cap on fuel prices late Tuesday after a recent wave of panic-buying among motorists led to fuel shortages and long lines at filling stations across the country.

The prices of gasoline and diesel at fuel pumps will be set according to market rates as of 11 p.m. Tuesday, government minister Gergely Gulyas announced at a news conference.

The move brings an end to more than a year of government-mandated price controls that had strained the ability of the state energy company to keep up with demand.

Gulyas blamed the end of the price cap, which from November 2021 limited fuel prices to 480 forints ($1.22) per liter, on European Union sanctions placed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

But soaring fuel consumption — up some 25% in Hungary since last year — as well as production difficulties at a Hungarian oil refinery have led to state energy company MOL struggling to supply filling stations with adequate quantities of price-capped fuel.

“The government maintained the price cap as long as it could,” Gulyas said. The price cap had been due to expire Dec. 31.

Earlier on Tuesday, MOL issued a statement saying it had reached the end of its logistical capacities to keep up with the demand as consumers rushed gas stations amid rumors of pumps running dry.

MOL chief Zsolt Hernadi said at the news conference that Hungary had been hit with long lines at gas stations not seen since shortages in Hungary’s Soviet-dominated socialist period in the 1970s.

Gulyas acknowledged that the lifting of the price cap on fuel is likely to increase inflation in Hungary — already the third-highest in the EU at 21.1%.

The government has not yet decided on whether a price cap on basic foodstuffs would continue after the new year, he said, a measure that has caused similar shortages of staples like sugar, flour and other products on store shelves.


Boldizsar Gyori contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


(Facebook Photo/Superior Court of Arizona in Yavapai County)...
Associated Press

Arizona judge has cases reassigned following DUI arrest

The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that all cases currently assigned to a Yavapai County Superior Court judge recently arrested on suspicion of extreme DUI will be reassigned to other judges.
1 day ago
Haitian migrant Gerson Solay, 28, carries his daughter, Bianca, as he and his family cross into Can...
Associated Press

US, Canada to end loophole that allows asylum-seekers to move between countries

President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced a plan to close a loophole to an immigration agreement.
4 days ago
Expert skateboarder Di'Orr Greenwood, an artist born and raised in the Navajo Nation in Arizona and...
Associated Press

Indigenous skateboard art featured on new stamps unveiled at Phoenix skate park

The Postal Service unveiled the “Art of the Skateboard" stamps at a Phoenix skate park, featuring designs from Indigenous artists.
4 days ago
(Facebook Photo/City of San Luis, Arizona)...
Associated Press

San Luis authorities receive complaints about 911 calls going across border

Authorities in San Luis say they are receiving more complaints about 911 calls mistakenly going across the border.
10 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Associated Press

Daylight saving time begins in most of US this weekend

No time change is observed in Hawaii, most of Arizona, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas.
18 days ago
Mexican army soldiers prepare a search mission for four U.S. citizens kidnapped by gunmen in Matamo...
Associated Press

How the 4 abducted Americans in Mexico were located

The anonymous tip that led Mexican authorities to a remote shack where four abducted Americans were held described armed men and blindfolds.
18 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Hungarian government scraps year-old ceiling on fuel prices