Changes in fuel prices this year – predictions, forecasts
>In recent years, fuel prices on the international market have been changing dynamically. A variety of factors play a role here, such as economic conditions, the situation on the oil market, changes in exchange rates and the policies of individual countries. In this article, we will present changes in fuel prices over the years, discuss the history of these changes and try to predict what the prices will be in the coming months.
Table of contents
Fuel prices – what do they depend on?
Oil companies are powerful corporations of geopolitical importance. Very often they become tools for playing political chess games by the world’s greatest powers. Observing fuel prices over the years, one can come to the conclusion that economic freedom and basic market principles very often give way to geopolitical issues. The factors that have the greatest impact on average fuel prices are primarily:
- price of a barrel of crude oil
- geopolitical situation in the country and in the world
- refining margins
- wholesaler and gas station margins
- availability of fuels on the market
- taxes and other charges, mainly excise duty, VAT, fuel and emission charges
- location of final distribution points (gas stations)
What else influenced fuel prices over the years?
There are many factors that affect the final price of fuel. Past years show that average fuel prices in Poland may also be affected by other factors, such as: the exchange rate of the zloty against the US dollar and the euro, atmospheric factors, current tax policy, or even the season. In the summer, road traffic and the demand for fuel increase, which goes hand in hand with price increases.
Diesel price per litre – an international comparison
When analyzing the price per liter of diesel in the world, one will notice significant differences between individual countries. In oil-producing countries, such as Saudi Arabia or Russia, fuel prices are much lower than in importing countries. Tax policy also plays a notable role here – in countries with high fuel taxes, such as Western European countries, diesel prices are higher than in countries with a lower tax burden.
Fuel prices – a look back
We long for the prices of fuel and groceries from several years ago. These however should be viewed with some distance, as inflation, increases in minimum wage, or even tax policies of individual governments have left their mark on the current price level.
Average fuel prices in 2005
Petrol 95: 3,20 PLN/l
Diesel: 3,10 PLN/l
Average fuel prices in 2010
Petrol 95: 4,50 PLN/l
Diesel: 4,20 PLN/l
Average fuel prices in 2015
Petrol 95: 4,80 PLN/l
Diesel: 4,40 PLN/l
Average fuel prices in 2020
Petrol 95: 4,30 PLN/l
Diesel: 4,20 PLN/l
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fuel prices in 2020 were lower than in previous years. However, since 2021, we have been noticing a significant increase in the average prices of diesel and unleaded petrol on an annual basis.
Average fuel prices in 2021
Petrol 95: 5,44 PLN/l
Diesel: 5,35 PLN/l
Average fuel prices in 2022
Petrol 95: 6,64 PLN/l
Diesel: 7,19 PLN/l
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 is considered to be the main driver of price increases over the past year. The Polish government tried to mitigate the negative economic effects by lowering the VAT rate on fuels from 23% to 8%. However, in reality fuel prices at service stations did not change after the standard tax rate was reinstated on January 1, 2023. The high prices resulted mainly from inflated margins imposed by service stations. This could be seen as a way to limit the demand for fuels by inflating their prices in the face of limited supply.
The price of diesel and gasoline in 2023 – an analysis
Many people decided to fill up their tanks and spare gas cans at the end of 2022, fearing drastic price hikes. Ultimately, the prices on December 31, 2022 and January 1, 2023 were exactly the same. Average fuel prices across the country stayed at the same level. The price of Pb95 petrol was PLN 6.46, while the price of diesel fuel was PLN 7.45. By the end of the month, fuel prices increased by about PLN 0.15 per litre.
The first week of February 2023 was marked by further increases at gas stations. Positive changes for consumers followed reductions in wholesale fuel prices – first on February 10, and then February 25. Between these dates, we saw large price fluctuations oscillating between 10-15 groszy per litre. Favourable price changes appeared in March for owners of diesel vehicles. The price of diesel oil decreased significantly and in some regions of Poland was lower than petrol 95. Average fuel prices on March 31, 2023 amounted to PLN 6.62 per litre of Pb95 and PLN 6.75 per litre of diesel.
Polish petrol stations – prices in April 2023
In April, we saw fluctuations in refinery prices for all types of fuels. As a result of increased road traffic, the highest price increases took place during the Easter holidays and immediately before the May weekend. Prices can change dynamically and on some days the price of unleaded petrol was higher than diesel. Further increases in fossil fuel prices are forecast for the end of the May long weekend. The situation should stabilize next week.
We entered 2023 with an increase in the fuel surcharge by 13.3% and the return of the standard VAT rate. In spite of that, prices at the beginning of the year did not change dramatically. The situation worsened over the following months. Currently, fuel prices exceeding PLN 7 per litre no longer surprise anyone. We can expect large price increases in the third quarter of 2023, i.e. in the summer. Some analyses indicate that the price of diesel oil may even reach PLN 8 per litre.
Conversely, large reductions in fossil fuel prices in Poland are forecast for the fourth quarter of 2023, when the parliamentary elections will be held. Fuel price cuts just before the elections are a regular feature of ruling party campaigns. This period will likely coincide with the reduction of refining margins and the price of Brent oil on the stock exchange in Europe. It is hoped that global balance will return to fuel markets in the first half of next year as new refineries are opened in Africa, the US and Asia.
Average fuel prices – forecasts for the future
Due to the growing interest in electric vehicles and eco-friendly solutions in transport, we can expect that over the next several years the demand for conventional fuels will decrease. This, in turn, may result in lower average fuel prices at service stations. However, it should be taken into account that this process may be long and unevenly distributed throughout the different regions of the world.
Climate policies of countries as well as international agreements may accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources, which may also contribute to a decrease in demand for fossil fuels. It is hard to predict future fuel prices. However, given the development of electromobility and the expansion of the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, the conventional fuel market will most likely change. At the moment, however, the priority for most countries is to regain balance and stability in the energy sector by becoming completely independent from the supply of Russian fuel and gas. With the increase in the availability of raw materials, we can ex