Petrol Companies - Govt Stand-off
Cyprus' petrol stations are caught in the middle of a stand-off between the government and the petroleum supply companies after minister of commerce Antonis Paschalides ordered them to lower their prices.
The situation has reached the point where petrol stations around the island may close in protest.
"How can I charge less than what I pay?" said one petrol station owner in Nicosia, adding that "I don't know if we'll all close, we'll probably hear it on the news, but the petrol companies have not lowered their prices and the minister told us to."
The government has come down hard on petroleum product suppliers, most recently fining them 43 million euros for price fixing.
Drivers in Nicosia were filling their tanks just in case the stations shut down services over the problem.
Earlier today, the ministry of commerce set the maximum retail prices for 95-octane at 95 cents per litre, and 97 cents per litre for 98-octane petrol. Diesel prices are set at 87.5 cents per litre.
Petrol stations will have to comply with the decree for eight days or face fines. Paschalides said that the highest prices were in Limassol, where petrol stations were selling 98 and 95-octane at prices reaching 97.3 cents per litre.