TALLINN – An analysis of automotive fuel sales figures by region shows that the decrease in sales volumes has not been equal across Estonia, and in light of high fuel prices consumption has decreased the most in regions where residents' incomes are lower, the Estonian Oil Association said.
Sales figures for June show that the downward trend was continuing. In the first two weeks of the month, 9 percent less gasoline was bought than during the same period last year, Mart Raamat, CEO of the Estonian Oil Association, said.
"In Estonia, between 18 million and 29 million liters or motor gasoline is consumed monthly depending on month, about half of this in Harju County. If we look at the changes in sales figures by county in recent months, only in Harju and Parnu counties the sales figures of gasoline have not decreased compared to 2021," Raamat said.
"Sales figures for May show that consumption has fallen the most -- by 13-14 percent -- in the three counties with the lowest average income -- East-Viru, Valga and Voru. It is understandable that the record prices at pump affect people with lower incomes," he said.
Raamat noted that this year, Estonians had to make their Midsummer trips to the countryside with fuel prices that were almost the highest in Europe.
"Official price information from the European Commission for June 20 shows that only Finland, Denmark, Greece and the Netherlands had higher gasoline prices than Estonia during the peak week of the summer motoring season. Unfortunately, the fuel sector has no magic wand to offer better prices to the people -- Estonia's taxes on motor gasoline are the fourth highest in the European Union," the head of the industry body said.
Raamat noted that Estonia is one of the few countries that has not taken any steps to soften the impact of skyrocketing prices on fuel consumers.
"Unfortunately, our government has spent the last three months analyzing the impact of high fuel prices and the possibilities of lowering them," he said.
According to the fuel sector, in the coming months, not only the people will lose out, but fiscal receipts will take a blow as well, as it can be seen already now that many residents living near the border have probably started to fill up in Latvia.
"Since the biofuel requirement was abolished in Latvia in July, the price difference with Estonia will widen even further and a lot of tax money will again start going to Latvia," Raamat said, urging the government to stop misleading the public and start taking decisions.