World oil prices have been decreasing for a month in a row, however, against this background, the cost of fuel at gas stations is slowly, but still growing. It turns out that we live according to our economic laws?
- I think the explanation should be sought in the fact that the ruble is firmly tied to oil. In this regard, we have become an absolutely dependent country. And our budget is adjusted each time in accordance with the dynamics of world oil prices. After all, what happens: if prices, for example, fall on the London Stock Exchange, then at the same time the ruble against the dollar becomes cheaper by about the same percentage. They gave, say, 30 rubles per dollar, and now - 33 rubles. At the same time, the ruble price of gasoline is also changing. Add more inflation - about six percent a year. Everything is very simply explained. This is normal within the framework of economic laws for a commodity country. But there is nothing good here; it’s bad that the whole economy is tied to oil, the prices of which are very unstable. It’s a joke to say that forecasts for the price of a barrel by the end of the year diverge from 60 to 150 dollars! Is it possible to build on such data the development of a huge country?
And how will the price of fuel generally change - will it continue to grow? To what limit?
- I am sure that the cost of hydrocarbons will only increase. There is an old truth that no one could refute: welfare rises in proportion to energy consumption. That is, the richer the population, the more it consumes energy - oil, gas, electricity … Hydrocarbons are exhaustible, no one has found an adequate replacement for them. Until. Demand for energy is growing, cheap sources are running out. So the prices for them will continue to grow and the cost of fuel for cars, too. This is a global trend. Although fluctuations are possible. Especially when the next wave of global crisis will begin.
Can power influence pricing processes?
- Of course. But my forecast is that the development of the country will go, as before, according to the inertial scenario; if the authorities begin to interfere in pricing, then only occasionally, in the “manual mode”. Although we produce significantly more than is necessary for domestic consumption. Regulating fuel prices in the long run is real. Let’s say, to fix that in the next ten years a liter of gasoline should cost one dollar, and keep this ratio with the help of taxes and customs duties on the export of petroleum products - to develop a special formula for this.
Do the same for electricity. And it turns out that the prices for gasoline and electricity are already higher than in the USA. By the way, in America, where the most liberal market is, electricity prices are fixed for 10–20 years. So price regulation on the basis of long-term contracts between the state and companies is not only possible, but also advisable. And there are no deviations from market principles.
Recently, the head of the Duma Committee on Transport announced that he would like to increase excise taxes on fuel from the current three to seven to eight rubles per liter. This money will finally allow to repair all Russian roads and build new ones. Do you agree with him?
- I am categorically against it! Today it is impossible to raise taxes and excise taxes. I can give an example from the field of energy. Utilities all the time complain that they do not have enough money to repair and maintain heating systems and, under this pretext, increase payments. But if you look, it turns out that we use twice as much energy to generate heat than in Europe. Why? Patching old communications is twice as expensive as laying down new ones. At the same time, it is necessary to constantly keep repair crews who can only dig and dig pipes. If modern windows are installed in apartments, heat loss is immediately reduced. And so on, along the whole chain … And if you still deal with all unnecessary intermediaries, management companies, corruption in this area, finally … It turns out that there is no need to raise tariffs - you need to fix them and figure out how and what the money is spent on. The same with roads: where does the money go? We hear all the time: our road construction costs are the highest in the world. But why do the roads fall apart after a year of operation?