And it seems like the nervous tension subsided. But each time, driving up to the gas station and looking at the seemingly frozen prices for a liter of the 92nd and 95th, no, no, but think: how much will you have to pay in January? Experts at the wheel believe that not much more. Well, then what?
HOW TO “BRAKE” PRICES
The author of a sensational initiative was the president of LUKOIL V. Alekperov. From September 19 to the end of 2005, it fixed retail prices for gasoline and diesel fuel at its gas stations in all regions of Russia. This step, according to Alekperov, made it possible to restrain fuel price growth for the short term, as well as "continue the constructive dialogue that has begun between the Russian government and oil companies in order to stabilize domestic prices for oil products."
The company, as you know, took a similar step in December last year. Recall that then in May 2005, it reduced retail prices for fuel by 5%. Before this, Alekperov was invited to the main office of the country. What Putin said to the oil king, it remained between them, only after leaving cabinet number 1, the head of LUKOIL said: for the sake of Russia, his company is cutting prices. The people of the oligarch applauded mentally, and the competing colleagues, squeezing out smiles, followed his example.
This kind of "oil truce" lasted, as it was announced in December, until May of this year. And then our oilmen let the prices go. They jumped especially hard in late August - early September, as it turned out - "not in time." At this point, they did not have time to complete the cleaning work, but the prices were lifted so that even quite wealthy citizens were indignant. The groan of price increases could not fail to reach the president, and the second time he was hardly limited to a “preventative conversation”. And LUKOIL was ahead of the president’s anger.
On the same day, all the leading Russian oil companies at a meeting with the Minister of Industry and Energy Viktor Khristenko “agreed on the need to stabilize prices without any preconditions, without tying their decision to any government decisions.” In unofficial conversations, officials unanimously call the agreement between the oil industry and Khristenko “a complete PR”. In fact, fuel prices depend not only on the cost of oil on international exchanges, but also on domestic demand. Now its peak has passed - the main agricultural work has been completed, oil products have been purchased for the winter, so that stagnation can be expected further, and starting in December there will be a drop in prices - this happens every year. By freezing the cost of already cheaper fuel, oil workers will be able to earn political points without any sacrifice, says Yevgeny Arkusha, president of the Moscow Fuel Association. And so it happened: prices were fixed at the highest price point, and if a truly civilized market for petroleum products functioned in Russia, the price of gas would inevitably fall.
Fixing the price of gasoline allowed oil industry workers to avoid complications. If you remember, the president even began his annual communication with the people on television with this problem. At the same time, he did not scold the oil industry workers, but regretted: they have deducted so many from them in the form of taxes! “The government is considering changing this system so that the seizures are balanced, so as to ensure state revenues and not raise fuel prices,” the president said, noting that the sharp increase in fuel prices, which peaked in early autumn, is connected so that the Russian economy is integrated into the world.
Oddly enough, after prices were frozen, the country did not advance a single step in resolving the gasoline problem. “The problem of rising gasoline prices in Russia cannot be solved by freezing prices,” Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov said on the same day. He stressed that the government is taking a set of measures related to the growth of prices for fuels and lubricants: regulation of export tariffs, specification of tax rates, antitrust, administrative and economic measures. But while they are being developed, a new redistribution of the market has slowly begun. The same LUKOIL can trade for a long time at its own gas stations at wholesale prices, neglecting superprofits. Owners of private gas stations, which are the majority on the market today, are forced to buy gas from large companies at wholesale prices and sell at retail. But no one fixed wholesale prices! So, they can grow, thus eating up the profit of a small gas tanker.