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Orban’s Populism Is Limiting Access for Consumers

From the beginning of this week, the Hungarian Oil Company (MOL) has been unable to provide around 500 independent petrol stations with price-capped fuel. Entire municipalities will be without fuel due to this decision. Another worrying sign is that Shell has already announced a limit on petrol at the stations, where a complete fuel shortage has already become standard. Commenting on the latest developments of Hungarian price caps, Consumer Choice Center’s Government Affairs Manager, Zoltán Kész:

“Consumer Choice Center has already given out warnings regarding the possible effects of the price caps introduced by the Hungarian government. We are now experiencing these effects when we go to fill up our car and find that either there is a limit or, in the worst scenario, we find that you can’t even buy the fuel you want.”

“Not only is it disadvantageous for consumers, but it also has a backlash on distributors forced to take action to limit their losses. Some are closing down, some limit the amount consumers can buy, and some run out of fuel, and you realize it at the pump,” says Kész.

“A year ago, when this measure was introduced, it was clear that the motive behind it was purely political, as the country was about to elect the next government. However, Hungary has seen record-high inflation and rising prices in the past months. For the same political reasons, the government is not changing its price-cap policies, even if the results are clearly seen now. As we predicted at the Consumer Choice Center, shortages and the lack of available services are already happening,” concludes Kész.

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