By Humphrey Carter
THE Balearic government is poised to launch a new attempt at bringing down the cost of petrol.
The Minister for Industry and Commerce, Josep Joan Cardona, announced yesterday that steps taken by the previous Balearic government have failed and his department is drawing up a new set of measures aimed to making fuel cheaper in the Balearics.

The previous government created a new fuel distribution outfit, hoping that it would lead to cheaper fuel, however, the price of petrol in the Balearics is one of the highest in Spain and, according to the Minister, is causing growing concern for the industrial, transport and agricultural sectors.

Cardona said yesterday that the various sectors dependent on fuel have warned that, if fuel prices continue rising at the current rate, in the short term, they too will have to start passing the extra costs over to the consumers. “We've got to get rid of the present policies, in particular the idea of establishing a regional distributor as it has not worked out as desired, we're still having to pay over the odds for fuel,” the minister said.

Cardona explained yesterday that apart from the fact there are only four fuel distribution companies having to work within a “rigid” market, their actual operating costs are too expensive.

He said that the real handicap the distributers have to overcome is that they have a limited number of sales outlets and unloading costs are high.
The Balearic government plans to start dealing with the heart of the problem.
Unless shipping, unloading and distribution costs can be reduced, the government does not expect fuel companies, operating in a free market, to cut their prices. Cardona is set to hold talks with all parties involved, from fuel distributers to commercial consumers.

Cardona's final objective is to achieve cheaper fuel for all, not just the industrial and transport sectors, “the ultimate aim which the previous government failed to realise,” he said.

Shipping and transport costs are the reasons some goods in the Balearics cost as much as 20 percent more than on the mainland and the government considers it vital to cut fuel costs.

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