9 - 15 May, 2001
By Kurt Sansone
Maltese diesel car owners pay the cheapest fuel rate in Europe according to information obtained from the International Automobile Association (IAA).
A list of average fuel prices for the month of April reveals that Maltas diesel rate, at 20 cents per litre, is only two cents higher then the US and six cents cheaper than the cheapest European Union rates.
The most expensive country to drive your car in, is the UK with both diesel and petrol rates standing at a whopping 50 cents per litre.
On the otherhand, Maltas unleaded petrol rate at 37 cents per litre is comparable to the average EU rates, on par with Austria and Portugal.
Unleaded petrol cars are cheaper to drive in Malta then France, Germany and Italy while Greek motorists have the cheapest petrol rate at 31 cents per litre.
Contrary to what happens in Malta, fuel rates in the EU fluctuate from month to month according to market forces. Maltese fuel rates are fixed by the state monopoly Enemalta and announced during the annual government budget.
This arrangement is expected to change in the forthcoming budget when the finance minister will announce that Enemalta will start charging fuel prices according to market forces.
At present the rates for petrol and unleaded petrol in Malta are the same. In most EU countries petrol is no longer available and if Malta will pursue membership, petrol engines will have to be phased out gradually.
Figures released at the beginning of May by the National Statistics
Office show that the number of licensed motor vehicles in Malta stood
at 248,270. More than 73 per cent of these are private vehicles. The
number of commercial vehicles stands at 43,257. Motor cycles registered
a constant increase in the first quarter of 2001 and now add up to 12,269.