World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkish gas prices rose 10 kuruş (6 cents) this week, a move which followed a similar hike last month and brought the national average gas price to TL 4.85 (2.03 euros).
The hike came after the government upped the price of fuel sold by state-owned refineries, a move which typically requires other refineries to follow suit in a market largely dominated by government-owned firms.
The decision solidified Turkey's standing as Europe's most expensive country for gasoline. Europe's second-highest gas prices are found in Norway, where fuel is sold for the equivalent of TL 4.74 a liter (1.98 euros). Both countries' prices are more than three times higher than average fuel prices in the United States. The two countries have long traded the dubious honor, though those prices weigh far heavier on Turks -- compared to median per capita income of $88,890 for Norway, Turkish median per capita income is almost nine times lower at $10,410.
Analysts say that Ankara's decision to inflate the price of gasoline -- around 60 percent of the price is made up of taxes -- comes as it looks to keep its energy-driven trade deficit at a minimum. Turkey imports over 98 percent of its petrol from abroad, and the government estimates it will spend $60 billion in 2013 paying for gas and oil from Russia, Iran, Iraq and other countries in the region.
Turkey narrowed its trade deficit to $84 billion in 2012 over $106 billion in 2011, but the country's energy consumption guarantees that the gap will remain wide in the foreseeable future. Ankara has also said it keeps taxes high on consumables like gasoline while taxes on income and other conventional sources remain poorly enforced, a policy which critics have attacked for putting a disproportionate amount of the tax burden on the middle class.Last Mod: 03 Şubat 2013, 11:35