The gas stations advance 33,000 euros per month to cover the aid of 20 cents

A. Gomez

Some have requested financing from the bank to deal with that extra expense, which the Treasury is returning to them two weeks later

Edurne Martinez

All Spanish drivers benefit from a bonus of 20 cents per liter of fuel since the Government's anti-crisis plan came into force on April 1, which, after the three months of validity approved, was extended until December 31 of this year. Since that April 1, the service stations in Spain have had to advance the money that is deducted from their own pockets - the so-called treasury - and waiting for these amounts to be paid to them by the Treasury as soon as possible.

These advances are very voluminous due to the large amount of fuel that gas stations buy each month. Specifically, from the Spanish Confederation of Service Station Employers (CEEES) they assure that they are having to advance, on average, more than 1,000 euros per day or, what is the same, about 33,000 euros per month. Amounts that for many suppose an “unaffordable” outlay for which they must request financing from the banks, with the consequent interest.

Nacho Rabadán, general director of CEEES, explains to this newspaper that they are "confusing oil companies with gas stations" and that the majority -specifically 70% of their associates- are family SMEs. “No one would think of asking SMEs in any other sector for this economic effort. It means selling at a loss and getting your money back a month later », he points out.

“People confuse oil companies with gas stations”

Nacho Rabadán, director of CEEES

And that, he acknowledges, the public officials are doing a "great job" and are getting the Treasury to pay them the advance money "within 10 to 14 days", but if the Administration collapses or now in the summer it has less staff, it could be the case that the advance payment is made in August in the month of October. “The government decree is so poorly done that it even provides that the Administration can pay us in 45 days”, something that would destroy his treasury.

"It's the perfect storm," laments Manuel Jiménez, president of Aesae (National Association of Automatic Service Stations), since the "problem" of having to advance the money is added that fuel does not cost the same as a year ago. Specifically, fuel cost 34.3% more last July than twelve months earlier. INE data indicate that despite the fall of 2.1% from June to July, so far this year they have become 27.1% more expensive.

Faced with this situation, some 'low cost' gas stations have had to close, although Jiménez assures that they still do not have data to know how deep the crisis is in the sector. “Advance money reduces the liquidity of companies. We are in a tense liquidity situation and we are having to request financing from the bank," says the president of the association.

Administrative charges

And these advance payments also entail more administrative burdens for service stations, which have to send invoices and specific data to the Treasury and, when required, to the National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC). Nacho Rabadán denounces that these administrative burdens are sometimes "very onerous" because they have forced some companies to hire a person who specifically deals with all the paperwork or for someone from the staff to take charge, at a time of year that is usually be more workload for car trips on vacation.

"Some 'low cost' are requesting to become automatic to reduce personnel costs"

Manuel Jimenez, president of Aesae

Faced with this scenario of rising costs, the 'low cost' association ensures that they are receiving many calls from some of their service stations that want to become automatic. "In this tight situation, we are trying to change to the most economical model," says Jiménez, who details that after fuel, personnel spending is the most voluminous for these companies.

Since the 20 cent bonus came into force, the cost of oil has been falling (the maximum was touched in mid-May when a barrel of Brendt was trading at 123 dollars compared to the current 96). Therefore, although less rapidly, the price of fuel has also been falling. Gasoline reached its maximum at 2.15 euros per liter on June 17, while diesel rose to 2.10 euros on June 23. On the other hand, this Monday the liter of gasoline was on average at 1.81 euros, while diesel was paid at 1.80.

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