Citing the study “Analysis of the Evolution of Fuel Prices in Portugal”, the entity that oversees the fuel sector concludes that, “during the critical months of the pandemic, average retail prices fell at a clearly lower rate than the decline in reference prices”, which means that “the retailers’ margins thus reached, in 2020, maximums of the period under analysis”.

In petrol, the retailers’ margin reached 36.8 cents per litre (cts/l) on 23 March, and in diesel, 29.3 cts/l on 16 March.

Already Apetro - the Portuguese Association of Oil Companies - has been attributing the current level of fuel prices, higher than 2008, even though the price of oil is lower, to the incorporation of biofuels and the high tax burden.

“There is much speculation as to why the price of oil and refined products is well below the peak values of 2008, the sale prices at pumps are higher than that period,” says Apetro, in a note sent out on 14 July.

The association presents, in the same note, two graphs detailing prices in the weeks 7 July, 2008 and 28 June, 2021, concluding that “the explanation for the price increase is in the extra cost of incorporating biofuel and especially the tax burden” (ISP - Tax on Oil Products and VAT - Value Added Tax).