Swedish petrol prices fall

Petrol prices in Sweden on Tuesday fell back to levels seen before Hurricane Katrina pushed global oil prices to record highs, providing some relief for motorists who had been punished at the pump.

Citing falling oil prices in world markets, leading oil company Statoil said it had cut the price of 95 octane lead-free petrol to 11.90 kronor, from 12.28.

“We are now generally back at the level we saw before Huricane Katrina hit New Orleans,” said Ulf Svahn, chief executive of the Swedish Petroleum Institute, the trade association for oil companies in Sweden.

The global oil market was now “more balanced, even if there is still a big refining capacity problem in the world”, he told the TT news agency.

Statoil spokeswoman Helena Fornstedt said last week’s oil and petrol price spikes had been due to fears that refining capacities were too limited, but since then several countries had made strategic oil reserves available.

The oil market remained nervous, however.

“If anything influences it negatively the market will react with price rises at lightning speed,” Fornstedt said.

The fall in Swedish petrol prices came a week after record highs for crude oil were set in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which pushed prices to 70.85 dollars per barrel in New York on August 30.

On Tuesday, October light sweet crude stood at 63.31 dollars in New York, and October Brent North Sea crude at 61.73 dollars in London.



‘KKK’ flag mishap messes up Swedish pump makeover

The chain of petrol stations formerly known as Statoil proudly displayed its new flags this week, until a passer-by spotted an unfortunate gaffe.

'KKK' flag mishap messes up Swedish pump makeover
Uh oh! New Circle K flags at the Länna service station. Photo: Alexander Lindell/TT

As The Local reported on Wednesday, Statoil’s stations in Sweden are in the process of being rebranded as Circle K. 

And everything was going according to plan until a 17-year-old Swede saw three new Circle K flags in a row and “immediately thought of the Ku Klux Klan”, he told newspaper Aftonbladet. 

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A picture he took of the petrol station caused much hilarity on the hugely popular Imgur picture-sharing site and on Reddit, where it was posted under the title: 

“Somebody clearly didn’t think this through…”

“Or they did,” replied one mischief maker. 

Another user elicited belly laughs with the comment: 

I can only imagine the call from corporate?

“How many K flags are you flying, Sven?”

“Six, sir. 3 on each side.”

“So you have three K flags hanging in a row?”

“… I gotta go, sir. “

Circle K’s spokesman Johan Backman said he was aware the flags’ meaning could be misconstrued. 

“We’re going to change how we flag to avoid interpretations,” he told the Nyheter 24 news site. 

The company acted fast, and Reddit readers were soon treated to what appeared to be an old Statoil flag flanked by a pair of Circle Ks.  

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Circle K hopes the rebrand will make women and young people think more about tasty roadside treats and less about North Sea oil fields. And, of course, it wants them not to think even for a second about an American racist hood-wearing sect.