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The Spanish Gasoline Market: From Ceiling Regulation to Open Market Pricing

Ignacio Contin, Aad Correlje and Emilio Huerta

Year: 1999
Volume: Volume20
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol20-No4-1
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Abstract:
This paper examines the evolution of the Spanish gasoline market from the abolition of the state oil monopoly (January 1993) to "complete" liberalisation (October 1998). With the restructuring of the Spanish oil sector during the 1980s and early 1990s, a highly concentrated oligopoly emerged in the automotive fuels market. A system of price ceilings replaced the state administered prices in July 1990. Since then, new domestic and foreign operators have entered the market, particularly along the coast, near import terminals. Prices went up and then declined. These developments can be explained by an interplay of factors such as: the gradual decline in co-operation among the Spanish firms; the loss of market share of the largest of these, Repsol; the entry of independent operators and supermarkets; and the impact of the ceiling price system. By mid-1998 this system was abolished as the government considered it an "impediment" to further market liberalisation. However, some crucial barriers to the entry of new suppliers remain.





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