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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.



Pricing and Margins in the Retail Automotive Fuel Market: Empirical Evidence from Spain

Alejandro Bello, Ignacio Contín-Pilart, and M Blanca Palacios

Year: 2018
Volume: Volume 39
Number: Special Issue 1
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.39.SI1.abel
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Abstract:
This paper analyses the evolution of gross retail margins for automotive fuels in Spain between January 2001 and February 2013. We firstly empirically test for breaks in the time series of gross margins. Our results indicate that there is only one break-point, in mid-2008, just when the demand for automotive fuels drops due to the economic crisis and the difference between the Spanish and the European retail margins increase notably. In addition, a regression analysis shows that the gross retail margins were higher during the recessive period of the Spanish economy (2008-2013) than before. Furthermore, we examine the causes of the break-point and of the subsequent evolution of margins. We find no evidence to support either the prohibition of using retail price maintenance (RPM) and recommended prices in the supply contracts or a supply cost change of automotive fuels as the cause of the evolution of retail margins. In addition, empirical evidence indicates that retail prices respond symmetrically to changes in wholesale prices. Instead, we show that the data are consistent with some firms exercising market power during the recessive period of the Spanish economy.





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