'Someone's being smart': Italy launches investigation as fuel prices soar

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'Someone's being smart': Italy launches investigation as fuel prices soar
Italian motorists faced a spike in fuel prices again at the beginning of January. (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP)

Rome prosecutors on Monday opened an investigation into a spike in gas prices as Italy’s transport minister suggested speculation and “furbizia” was to blame.


The Public Prosecutor's Office of Rome announced an investigation into high fuel prices on Monday, Italian media reported, after consumer group Codacons made allegations of price fixing due to the fact petrol and diesel costs have soared despite a fall in oil prices.

The price of petrol (gasoline) was back above €2 a litre in some parts of Italy at the beginning of January, reaching highs of €2.24 and €2.09 per litre at gas stations in parts of Sicily and Sardinia respectively.


Prices of up to €2.48 per litre for diesel were recorded at some stations on major motorways, according to Codacons.

Fuel prices had previously been falling after skyrocketing across Europe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in March 2022.

READ ALSO: Where to find the cheapest fuel in Italy

A full tank of petrol at the beginning of January cost 8.9 euros more than at the end of December, Codacons said, estimating that motorists in Italy faced fuel costs of 214 euros more this year compared to last.

The assocation had made reports based on its findings to Italy’s financial police and 104 prosecutors’ offices across Italy, its president Carlo Rienzi said.

"Fuel prices seem to be out of control, and after the scrapping of the excise cut we are seeing sharp increases in prices at the pump throughout the country which do not seem in any way justified by the trends in oil prices," Rienzi told reporters.

Meanwhile, in response to questions about the recent price increases, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Matteo Salvini told journalists “someone's being smart”, using the phrase “fa il furbo” (a uniquely Italian expression which could be translated as being sly, smart or cunning.)

Italy’s government has long suggested market speculation is to blame for soaring energy costs.

The recent return to high prices also comes after the government ended a fuel excise duty relief measure that had been in place since March 2022 - a move which angered many amid the cost of living crisis.


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