The Energy and Water Resources Ministry erred in setting gasoline pump prices, it admitted on Friday.
Six months ago, the ministry announced a dramatic 19-agorot-per-liter cut to what gas stations could charge as their markup on gasoline. The gas companies had argued that this was too much.
Yet apparently the ministry got its math wrong. It will be cutting the so-called marketing markup by another 2 agorot, and halving the markup that stations can charge for full-service gasoline, it announced prior to the Passover holiday, as it invited the gasoline companies to a hearing on the matter.
The marketing markup on 95 octane self-service is being cut from 58.9 agorot per liter to 57.5 agorot per liter. The full-service charge will be cut from 21 agorot to 11 agorot.
After factoring in VAT, consumers will pay about 2 agorot per liter less for self-service gas, and 13 agorot less for full service.
In the announcement, the ministry explained that had changed how it calculated the companies' costs.
Following the cut six months ago, the companies had petitioned the High Court of Justice, which instructed them to give the ministry more information about their expenses. They had argued that the state's calculations were based on 2007 numbers, so the justices ordered the ministry to redo its math with more current statistics.
But lo and behold, it didn't end the way the companies had hoped - apparently the new numbers led the ministry to realize that consumers were still overpaying.
Gas companies were shocked by the latest announcement, and are expected to respond to it harshly. Ten Petroleum CEO Dani Ben-Ner said the figures the company had given the government showed it should have done the opposite, while Paz said it was still going over the announcement.
Gas prices have been a source of social tension as they hit record highs over the past several months, scraping NIS 8 per liter and pushing the government to repeatedly intervene by lowering taxes.