Portuguese fuel retailer Galp recorded profits of €306 million in 2010 according to its annual financial report.
At a time of economic crisis, its profits soared by 43% on 2009, representing €840,000 per day.
Galp President Ferreira de Oliveira said the group’s profits had “nothing to do” with the fuel prices in Portugal and added that “without the fuel tax increases in Portugal, petrol would be cheaper in Portugal than in Spain”.
“If fuel duties were lower, we’d have even more profits and the Portuguese would still enjoy cheaper fuel prices than in Spain where many Portuguese living close to the border now go to fill up,” he said.
The National Association of Fuel Retailers (Associação Nacional dos Revendedores de Combustíveis, ANAREC) estimates that more than 250,000 motorists (including 6,000 lorry drivers) regularly head for Spain to fill up.
That means that Portuguese fuel retailers are losing an average of 1,250 tonnes of fuel business per day to their Spanish neighbours.
All told it also means that the Portuguese state is losing €780,000 a day in fuel receipts and many Portuguese petrol stations near the Spanish frontier have gone bankrupt through lost business.
On January 7, the basic price for Four Star ´95 was 62.5 cents in Portugal and in Spain it was 63.5 cents but taxes on Portuguese petrol stood at 86.1 cents while in Spain it stood at 63.5 cents.
Over the weekend, Repsol garages in Spain near the Portuguese border were selling a litre of diesel at €1.251 and ´95 petrol €1.280. Yet 500 metres away on the Portuguese side of the border diesel was selling at €1.374 per litre and petrol at €1.513 per litre.