On January 12, Brazil's Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) opened an inquiry against state-controlled oil and gas company Petrobras to investigate evidence of economic violations by Petrobras in the fuel market.
The investigation is based on public documents and news reports about gasoline and diesel price hikes. CADE plans to investigate the company's pricing policies. On Monday, January 17, CADE sent Petrobras president General Joaquim Silva e Luna a letter requesting information on the case.
The company issued a statement claiming that it follows the dynamics of the commodities market — and that it does not pass all of the international price hikes on to fuel distributors.
Since 2016, Petrobras has pegged its prices to international oil rates, which has contributed to a 49 percent fuel inflation over the last 12 months. According to the latest bulletin from the National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP), the average fuel price is R$6,608 ($1,2) per liter. In the first week of January, the price recorded at gas stations was R$6,596 ($1,1) per 1 liter. An opinion poll last year showed that 62.5% of Brazilians have become less likely to use their personal vehicles because of higher gasoline prices.