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Polish Antitrust Watchdog Probes Fuel Pricing Policies

 |  January 5, 2023

Polish regulator UOKiK will investigate pricing policies on the fuel market, its head said on Thursday, amid a public debate over how the country’s largest refiner PKN Orlen managed not to hike prices despite VAT being raised on Jan. 1.

The announcement comes after demands from local authorities to investigate PKN Orlen over accusations that it had artificially inflated prices in 2022 in order to avoid a sudden price increase at the turn of the year.

PKN Orlen denies the accusations and says prices did not change due to a stronger zloty currency, which makes buying dollar-denominated oil cheaper.

Read more: EU Wants Poland To Probe Gas Giant Takeover By Orlen

However, critics say the refiner could have cut prices earlier rather than benefiting from larger margins. PKN Orlen rejects this saying an earlier cut would have sent Poles rushing to the pumps, causing chaos.

“We want to clarify in detail whether there is coordination of certain prices between companies and the second issue is the abuse of a dominant position,” UOKiK head Tomasz Chrostny told reporters.

Chrostny said it would be a general investigation which did not target any one company in particular.

Earlier this week local authorities including the capital Warsaw and the public transport operator in the third largest city Wroclaw asked UOKiK to investigate PKN Orlen.