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Hungary's government is scrapping the price cap on fuel at the proposal of oil and gas company MOL, two days after the European Union slapped sanctions on crude from Russia, Gergely Gulyás, the prime minister's chief of staff, said late on Tuesday.

Gulyás lambasted EU sanctions on Russia, and insisted this was the reason why the government must terminate the 480 forint (EUR 1.6) price cap, which benefited Hungarian citizens. “The implementation of the sanctions has caused tangible disruptions to Hungary’s energy supplies,” Gulyás said. MOL said in a letter to the energy minister on Monday that it would be unable to ensure supplies without imports, he said. MOL has asked the government to ensure national fuel supplies by importing Brent crude oil, Gulyás said.
MOL chief Zsolt Hernádi said a quarter of station pumps had run dry at some point in the past few days, an unprecedented occurrence during MOL’s existence. MOL has sold 2.2 billion litres of fuel this year, up from 1.5 billion last year, he said. Sales over the past week have totalled at 50 million litres, up by 60% from the same period last year, he said.
Answering a question, Gulyás said the price caps had been terminated at 11pm on Tuesday night. At that time, MOL’s recommended price for a litre of 95-octane petrol was 641 forints, and 699 forints for diesel.