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Whether Oil Product Import Companies Cheat Population

The number of vehicles is increasing in Georgia: today, more than one million vehicles move in Tbilisi. Consequently, fuel consumption grows.

In January alone, oil product import companies imported 71,000 tons of fuel, including 39,000 tons of petrol. According to current indicators, there are more than 1,000 refueling stations in Georgia. However, we are interested in what genuinely happens on the Georgian fuel market, and whether oil product import companies honestly serve people or cheat the population.

Georgian race car drivers decided to cast light on this issue. Using a special container, they proved that almost all oil product import companies cheat consumers. Naturally, the companies disagree with these results. Their representatives do not accept the research results and cast doubt on their accuracy. According to them, this experiment does not reflect the reality, and they note that during the experiment petrol could have leaked, evaporated or been poorly measured by inaccurate containers.

However, the fact is that research conducted in Tbilisi has showed almost all refueling stations steal fuel from clients, on average 50-200 milligrams on 5 liters.

Why do the oil product import companies steal from clients and what is the solution?

Paata Bairakhtari, vice president of the Association of Young Financiers and Businessmen (AYFB), says that the reason stems from an oligopolistic environment and a lack of competition in practice, which was established for many years.

“Today, companies dictate rules of the game to both the society and the authorities. As to the recently arisen topics, according to which companies cheat clients, this is not surprising if we recall the market developments several years ago. For example, it turned out that one of the companies, which boasted  various brand fuels, did not have similar fuels at all. We also remember promo commercials, where the companies assured clients in refueling accuracy. Shortly after those events, we learned that almost all companies cheat their clients in volume, not to mention unhealthy prices,” Bairakhtari said.

The AYFB vice president disagrees with the experiment conducted by Georgian racing care drivers.

“In fairness, this experiment was conducted in an improvised manner and it will not be correct to assert something based on it. However, there are many misappropriations on the market. This is evident. It is the responsibility of Revenue Service of Ministry of Finance to control accuracy of refueling. If these companies genuinely cheat in refueling, naturally, the regulatory bears responsibility,” he said.

It is necessary that an investigation explores the mentioned facts and introduce an official conclusion to whether these companies cheat clients. Otherwise, this issue will remain misty and unclear. As a result, oil product import companies will triumph over the authorities again, the AYFB vice president said.

Oil prices are declining worldwide, but this tendency is not reflected on the Georgian market. And there is only one reason – companies do not have reserves. They buy fuel at various times and for various prices.

Natia Maisuradze