Petrol prices are set to rise further and there’s not much else Cyprus can do, as its taxes on fuel are already near the EU-set minimum limit, an industry source said on Wednesday.

Diesel is now at 1.45 euros a litre and unleaded 95 at 1.38 euros a litre but if the situation does not improve this could rise to over 1.60 and potentially even 1.70, head of the petrol station owners’ association Savvas Prokopiou told the Cyprus Mail.

“The tax cut [which came into effect on Tuesday] was a very positive step, but it was absorbed by the rise in costs and there’s not much else the state can do now to reduce the tax further. We’re already towards the minimum limit set by the EU,” he said.

His statements refer to the government’s announcement last week that tax on unleaded petrol 95 was being reduced by 8.33 cents per litre as of Tuesday.

“Whenever the discussion of petrol prices comes up, we have to consider that, unfortunately, we are dependent on external factors – so what the prices are internationally corresponds to what they are domestically,” Prokopiou said.

Brent crude rose to $114.64 a barrel on Thursday, a 30 per cent jump since February 24, after having reached $139 last week.

Prokopiou said that there were two aggravating factors for the Cypriot market, that salaries are lower compared to some other European countries while other forms of transport are also more limited – meaning that many Cypriots are heavily dependent on their cars.

But the Cyprus Consumers Association on Tuesday complained that at close of business on Tuesday petrol 95 fell by 7.1 cents per litre and diesel by 7.5 cent instead of the 8.33 cent reduction. It noted that the petrol stations are free to set the prices above the reduced tax rate, which some appear to have done.

As of May 2021, Cyprus had amongst the lowest excise duties on petrol within the EU – at 429 euros per 1,000 litres, slightly above the 359 euros required by the bloc. For comparison, Greece was at 700 euros and Malta at 549 euros.