SMALLER petrol stations could close in the Valencian Community this Friday- the very day that a government-mandated 20 cents per litre fall in pump prices comes into effect.

Leaders of the Mediterranean Federation of Service Stations(Fedmes) held an emergency meeting on Wednesday.

They claim some members could be forced to shut down because they cannot afford to subside the price cut.

The Fedmes threat revolves around the government refund of the slashed forecourt prices.

15 cents per litre of the reduction will come from state coffers and the remaining 5 cents directly from the oil companies.

Refunds to retailers of the 15 cents element will however not start until May 15 at the earliest.

In comments to the regional Las Provincias newspaper, a Fedmes spokesman said that around half of the Valencian Community’s 1,100 service stations don’t have enough financial reserves to pass on the discount and wait for a refund.

They estimate that each business will have to find €60,000 on average.

Fedmes described the scenario as ‘impossible’ and have called on the oil companies to advance money to help tide their members over until mid-May.

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