April 16th sees the start of a new regime for Portugal’s filling stations as the January law, specifying that cheap fuel must be supplied, comes into play.
Low cost diesel and petrol must be offered at all but the smallest filling stations, the low cost being attained by supplying fuel without additives.
Prices are not to be regulated and drivers won’t know how much they can save until the new fuels are on sale.
There has been a grumpy reaction from the big fuel companies which generally are against the new law, seeing it as government interference in the free market that so far has seen cheaper fuels supplied only by the big supermarket chains.
The January 16th law requires all fuel stations on Portugal’s mainland to provide these cheaper fuels but the Portuguese Association of Oil Companies representing Galp, BP, Repsol and Cepsa continues to express its disagreement with the legislation.
A fierce critic of the enforced supply of additive free fuels, Galp, has said that it "will respect the law" in its 715 service stations in Portugal but back in February this year the chairman, Ferreira de Oliveira, said that he would, if necessary, challenge the law in court.
BP said it was going to comply from April 16th in its 350 filling stations in Portugal, stating "Throughout this process we are committed to maintaining the quality of our products. At this point in our commercial strategy is not possible to give more information."
Filling stations are required clearly to identify those pumps that provide the new low cost fuels to make it easy for drivers to select the right product should they wish for an additive free fill up.