Prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) are 43 per cent higher in Cyprus than in other EU countries, the House commerce committee heard on Tuesday, only a month after supply became available to the local market.
While EU average prices are €0.55 per litre, the selling price in Cyprus is €0.78 per litre, head of the consumers union Loucas Aristodimou said during the session
Currently, two stations offer LPG, both of which are based in Nicosia and began supplying last month, MPs heard.
Disy MP Andreas Kyprianou said around 350 vehicles currently use LPG as fuel
According to a briefing by the interior ministry, so far 29 applications to supply LPG have been submitted.
Two of those have been approved, 18 have received planning permission, four are ready for approval and certificates have been issued for the remaining five.
A new LPG filing station is ready to begin operating in Timi in Paphos pending some labour inspection documents and another two stations – one in Nicosia and one in Limassol need some final paperwork, MPs heard.
But just because there is no competition at the moment does not mean the state cannot interfere to regulate the prices, Aristodimou said.
There is also cause for concern over suppliers that are offering LPG without a licence to do so, something that labour inspection and customs officers said they would address and take action against.
They are currently investigating cases where complaints have been filed, they said during the session.
Energy ministry representatives told MPs that one cause of the increased price was the €0.07 consumption tax, coupled with 19 per cent VAT.
The ministry however is in the process of subscribing to Platts, an online energy news portal that monitors LPG prices – among other things – across EU markets.
MPs agreed to discuss in future sessions how to best tackle the increased prices and look into the possibility of offering tax incentives. They urged the ministry to approve more applications for LPG suppliers in a bid to increase competition and reduce prices.