Petrol prices in Italy are notoriously high, with the average price of a litre of unleaded at 1.25, slightly above the European Union average of 1.23, and well above the price in France (1.18) and Spain (1.01). Part of the problem is a lack of competition on the forecourts, as most petrol stations are controlled by a handful of oil companies, including Italys Agip/ENI, still partially-owned by the state. Now in the wake of French supermarket giants Auchan and Carrefour, Italys Conad, one of the countrys largest supermarket chains, has opened its first petrol station in Gallicano, 30 km north of Lucca. The Tuscan towns petrol station is promising drivers, on average, a 5 saving off the price of a full tank. Conad plans to sell four million litres of petrol in the first year at 1.12 per litre, undercutting competition by over ten cents per litre. The fuel comes from French suppliers in Marseille where prices are well below the Italian average. The move is supported by the EU Commission, which has complained about the lack of competition in Italy for years.
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