Photo taken on March 4, 2022 shows a fuel station of Hungarian oil and petrol company MOL in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Attila Volgyi/Xinhua)
There is a partial product shortage in MOL's entire network and a quarter of the company's filling stations are completely empty.
BUDAPEST, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Drivers in Hungary found it very difficult to refuel on Monday and the situation became even more strained on Tuesday, Gyorgy Bacsa, managing director of Hungary's leading oil and gas company MOL, said, calling the country's fuel supply situation "critical."
"Demand has skyrocketed, consumers are stocking up, panic buying has begun," Bacsa said in a statement on Tuesday.
There is a partial product shortage in MOL's entire network and a quarter of the company's filling stations are completely empty, he said.
Daily demand for gasoline is twice the normal market level, and for diesel it is almost one and a half times higher.
The only solution is to create the conditions for increased imports, he said.
Gas prices are seen at a fuel station in Budapest, Hungary, on March 4, 2022. (Photo by Attila Volgyi/Xinhua)
This effectively means removing the price cap that has maximized fuel prices in Hungary at 480 forints (1.22 U.S. dollar) since Nov. 15, 2021.
MOL Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Zsolt Hernadi has been warning for months that regional oil companies, such as OMV or Shell, have stopped importing fuel in Hungary as they can only sell at a loss. Market prices vary between 700-800 forints depending on the fuel type and the exchange rate of the local currency.
"The price caps cause a 3-4 percent inflationary surplus, they must be eliminated immediately," and "Hungary is the only country that consumes more gasoline and diesel than before the energy crisis," Gyorgy Matolcsy, governor of the National Bank of Hungary (MNB), told Hungarian Parliament's Economic Committee on Monday.
As people become increasingly worried about fuel shortages, queues often several hundred meters long form at the pumps. Local communities have posted regularly updated maps on social media to help drivers navigate to pumps that still operate. (1 Hungarian forint = 0.0026 U.S. dollar)
Photo taken on May 24, 2022 shows a fuel tank of the Danube Refinery in Szazhalombatta, Hungary. (Photo by Attila Volgyi/Xinhua)■