The State Duma on Wednesday adopted in the third and final reading a law changing the regulation of fuel prices in Russia.
The document, initiated by the government, is making adjustments to the parameters of the damper, a mechanism that has been in effect since 2018 to stabilize prices for gasoline and diesel fuel.
The system, introduced in response to the 3-year-old gasoline crisis, works as follows: if export prices for gasoline and diesel fuel are higher than conditional domestic prices, the state compensates producers for part of this difference; otherwise, oil companies transfer part of the profit to the budget.
This mechanism still functions: for example, in March, oilmen received 16.6 billion rubles from the budget for a damper and another 46.9 billion through a reverse excise tax. But it is not possible to contain fuel inflation, which is embedded in the cost of all goods and services.
For six months, stock prices for Ai-92 jumped by 20.8%, and for Ai-95 – by 27.5%, while retail prices increased by 6% and 7%, respectively.
The new damper formula will increase payments to oil workers from the budget by 350 billion rubles in 2021-23, follows from the explanatory note to the law.
For this, the indicative price of gasoline, relative to which payments are calculated, will be reduced by 4 thousand rubles per ton, to 52.3 thousand rubles for the current year; by 3.8 thousand rubles – for the next year (up to 59 thousand rubles per ton) and by 4.1 thousand rubles for 2023 (up to 62 thousand rubles per ton).
At the same time, the authorities are considering tougher measures to cool the fuel market, where prices are growing 1.5 times faster than inflation.
Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, who oversees the energy sector, instructed to work out the possibility of an agreement on freezing prices with oil companies, similar to how it was done at the end of 2018.
In addition, the possibility of a complete ban on the export of gasoline and an increase in the standard of fuel sales on the exchange, which now stands at 11%, is being considered.