By Chris King •
Updated: 19 Sep 2023 • 20:16
Image of Portugal's President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
Credit: European Parliament/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
WITH fuel prices in the country reaching record levels, the Portuguese Government said that it will only act if it is ‘absolutely necessary’.
Diesel rose again this week by 6 cents and petrol by 0.5 cents, bringing the current administration in Lisbon under increased pressure to lower fuel taxes.
Speaking this Tuesday, September 19, Fernando Medina, the Minister of Finance, pointed out: ‘There is no increase in the tax burden. We are evaluating what will happen. We have already demonstrated our ability and willingness to act to protect families when this becomes absolutely necessary’.
In 2023, fuel consumption in Portugal has reached the highest values of the last decade, despite prices registering record values this summer, according to expresso.pt this Tuesday, September 19.
This coincided with the decision of the Ministry of Finance to keep the Tax on Petroleum Products (ISP) unchanged. According to a statement from the beginning of this month: ‘The Government maintains the tax reduction unchanged’.
As a result, the current ISP discount remained unchanged, which translated into a discount of 13.1 cents/litre for diesel and 15.3 cents/litre for petrol.
Last Saturday, after attending a meeting of European Union finance ministers that took place in Santiago de Compostela as part of the Spanish presidency of the EU, Medina spoke with Portuguese journalists.
He guaranteed that given the recent increases, the Government would monitor the fuel prices, and promised his willingness to act to protect families if ‘absolutely necessary’.
‘We are evaluating and we have to evaluate what will happen from the point of view of price evolution, whether we are at an exceptionally temporary peak that then returns or whether we are not’, he added.
Opposition parties have accused the Government of taking advantage of the moment to bring more money into the State’s coffers.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the President of the Republic, said he believed that the: ‘The Government is aware of this problem and is certainly preparing measures or, at least, ways to mitigate the situation, because it is a situation that is weighing heavily on inflation in Portugal and other European countries.’.
He continued: ‘I mean, ours is still relatively low, but, within our inflation, there is no doubt that fuels, as in Europe and the world, are weighing heavily again’.
Portuguese motorists continue to pay more for fuel when compared to their neighbours across the border in Spain.
One week ago, the average price per litre of diesel at Portuguese pumps was more expensive than in Ireland, Spain or Hungary, but still lower than in Germany, Sweden or the Netherlands.
Petrol in Portugal costs more than in Sweden and Spain, but the price remains below that of France, Italy and Denmark.
Speaking with drivers on the Algarve, Ana Pinto told EWN: ‘I dread driving past petrol stations because the prices just seem to keep going up all the time’.
Jack Carvalho said: ‘Whenever I go to fill up, I know I have to put the petrol in anyway or I won’t be able to go to work, so it’s a Catch-22 situation. I have friends over in Spain who tell me it’s a lot cheaper there. It’s a pity I live so far from the border’, he joked.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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