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Serbian Consumer Group Calls for Fuel Boycott Amid Rising Prices

The Serbian National Organization of Consumers called for a boycott tomorrow of filling stations to protest rising fuel prices.

The prices have risen almost 10 percent this year along with crude oil and a weakening dinar in the country that relies on imported oil, prompting demands that retailers reduce their margins and the government cut excise duties on gasoline and diesel.

“We understand that the price of crude oil on the world markets is high, but we cannot and will not understand our government and oil products traders who have no regard for the common consumer,” the organization said in a statement yesteday calling for the one-day boycott to coincide with World Consumer Rights Day. “Let March 15 be remembered as the day when no one bought a single liter of fuel.”

Both Serbian refineries are run by Naftna Industrija Srbije AD, majority-owned by Russia’s OAO Gazprom Neft, which also has a network of some 400 gas stations in the country. Its monopoly on oil imports ended last year as part of efforts to liberalize the market, when the government also canceled price caps on gas, diesel and heating oil.

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