Every week, the Finance and Economy secretariats publish joint orders on Fridays, defining the maximum prices for 95 octane gasoline, road diesel, and colored and marked diesel in Madeira for the following week. A reader recently commented on the influence of the Regional Government on fuel prices, speculating that they would not rise before the upcoming regional elections on September 24.
To determine if this claim is true, we can compare the changes made by the Regional Government in the rates of the Tax on Petroleum Products (ISP) with the fuel prices at gas stations. In July, the Regional Government increased the ISP rates, which had been rising since October 2022. At that time, prices for diesel, colored diesel, and 95-octane gasoline were fixed at 1.368 euros, 1.019 euros, and 1.600 euros respectively.
Over the next months, fuel prices gradually increased until the week of August 14-20 when the prices reached 1.511 euros for diesel, 1.150 euros for colored diesel, and 1.719 euros for gasoline. However, in the following week, the government intervened and significantly lowered the ISP rates, resulting in unchanged fuel prices for the week of August 21-27.
The government continued to manipulate the ISP rates to maintain stable fuel prices. According to administrative price fixing rules, diesel prices should have increased and gasoline prices should have decreased in the week of August 28 to September 3. However, the government once again changed the ISP rates, this time increasing them for diesel and decreasing them for gasoline, allowing fuel prices to remain unchanged.
As of now, there haven’t been further changes to the ISP rates, and the maximum fuel prices for the week of September 11-17 are already known. Gasoline prices will remain the same, while the price of each diesel fuel will drop by less than half a cent per liter. This suggests that, in the past two months leading up to the regional elections, the Regional Government has indeed controlled fuel prices by manipulating the ISP rates to prevent increases for consumers.