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NMa on the Petrol Market: Increasing Competition Extends to the Subsidiary Road Network

The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) observes that competition between petrol stations on the local and regional roads has increased. This is due, on the one hand, to the increase in the number of unmanned filling stations and, on the other hand, to the growing use of discount cards by consumers. As a result, the options open to consumers with regard to price, service and savings systems are on the increase, particularly beyond the motorways. This emerges from the scan conducted by NMa of the development of competition on the petrol market.

The most important driver of this increase in competition is the growth in the number of unmanned filling stations. Of all filling stations in the Netherlands, 14% are now unmanned. The arrival of an unmanned filling station drives prices downwards in the immediate surroundings. Critical consumers have an ever increasing range of options to choose from. NMa is exceptionally alert to reports which indicate any possible frustration of these effects.

The use of discount systems by consumers is increasing. For instance, consumers with an ANWB membership card can now receive discounts at more than 300 filling stations, both on the motorways and on the subsidiary Road network. In addition, there has been a growth in similar discount systems.

On the motorways, for the time being the developments are determined mainly by the schedule for the auctioning of filling stations. The two auctions held up until now have resulted in few changes, which include the entrance of one new independent player. The concentration of the large petrol companies on the motorways is still high.

NMa bases its conclusions with regard to the development of the petrol market (for a summary, see NMa's website on material obtained from various sources: interviews with new entrants, figures for the year 2003 and tips and complaints which NMa has received. At the beginning of 2005 and 2006, NMa will again publish conclusions with regard to competition on the petrol market.

Background Information to the Press Release