The retail price of petrol has dropped by 8.33 cents per litre after the House of Representatives unanimously passed a law to slash fuel duty on Thursday.

The reduced fuel tax rate will remain in place until March 3, while the reduced tax on heating oil will apply from November 15 until March 31. As a result, heating oil will now be 6.39 cents per litre cheaper.

The measure is set to cost the government €25.6 million.

The move is a reversal of the government’s decision to scrap the last temporary reduced fuel tax rates at the beginning of July.

Disy MP Onoufrios Koullas said the changes “do not constitute new measures on the part of the government, but an extension of pre-existing ones, which the European Union allows until the end of the year.”

He added, “the abolition of these in summer was a big mistake, because it led to price increases and a return to increased rates of inflation.”

He also said steps toward expanding the exploitation of renewable energy sources “should be accelerated, because prices are now more competitive”.

Akel MP Stefanos Stefanou said, “when the government announced the end of the measures [in July], they expected a reduction in fuel and electricity prices, which did not happen.”

“After a short period of reduction, there was an increase in prices, and there will be an even bigger one when this current period ends,” he added.

He said, “we should not be satisfied with these relief measures and believe the hard times are behind us. Much larger support measures were taken in other European countries.”

Fellow Akel MP Andreas Kavkalias said the measure “is an attempt to correct a mistake made by the current government, which abolished the reduced fuel tax rates based on erroneous predictions that there would be a reduction in fuel prices.”

He added that the government “should take care to ensure that the tax reduction ends up leaving more money in consumers’ pockets.”

Diko leader Nikolas Papadopoulos said, “it was correct that the government did not previously follow the easy path of populism.”

“It showed responsibility by waiting for the Moody’s evaluation and the upgrade of our credit rating to “investment grade,” he said.

Fellow Diko MP and House Finance Committee Chairwoman Christiana Erotokritou said she was “satisfied”, and that the move “demonstrates the government’s sensitivity to the difficult times the world is going through, and to the cost of fuel.”

Dipa MP Alekos Tryfonides said the said the tax reduction on heating oil will help alleviate the “serious needs of mountain communities”.

Edek MP Elias Myrianthous defended the government’s earlier decision to abolish the reduced tax rate in July, saying the government “saved some millions of euros, which they spent on other things which benefited society.”

He added that the government “should consider continuing this subsidy and target it mainly at mountain communities.”

Green Party MP Charalambos Theopemptou said “the most important thing to do is to help people upgrade the buildings in which they live, especially in the mountains, and to take urgent measures to reduce energy demands.”

Independent MP Andreas Themistocleous, formerly of Elam, raised questions about the efficiency of renewable energy sources and electric cars.

He also said he “does not understand” either the people who approve or disapprove of the fuel tax reduction.