In November, the Hungarian government set an official petrol price so that motorists do not have to suffer from rising fuel prices. The regulation no longer applies to foreigners.
Since Friday, foreign drivers in Hungary have had to pay significantly higher prices for motor fuel than domestic drivers.
A relevant decree appeared in the Hungarian Official Gazette shortly before midnight on Thursday. Accordingly, cars with foreign license plates may no longer be refueled at the officially fixed price of 480 forints (1.22 euros) for premium petrol (octane number 95) and diesel. Rather, foreign drivers have to pay the market price.
According to media reports, this is an average of 40 percent above the official price. The government of the right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban had officially set the price of petrol last November. The regulation, which will initially apply until July 1, is intended to ensure that drivers do not have to suffer from rising fuel prices worldwide.
Long lines after announcement
So far, foreign car drivers have also been able to fill up in Hungary at the official price. However, government officials surprisingly announced on Thursday afternoon that the market price would apply to foreigners from Friday. According to media reports, there were long queues in front of the gas stations near the borders of the EU neighbors Austria and Slovakia on Thursday evening because many foreigners wanted to fill up at the cheaper official price.
The different treatment of nationals and citizens of other EU states at the pumps raises the question of how far the EU country Hungary is not violating the existing ban on discrimination in the EU. Orban’s head of chancellery, Antal Rogan, admitted in a television program on Thursday evening that the new price regulation could lead to discussions with Brussels.