Over the past decade the Italian economy has struggled with austerity measures, structural reforms and high excise tax rates on oil products. This has all served to weaken oil demand, falling by nearly 30% over the period. Despite a number of refinery closures and conversions, the market continues to be oversupplied. National refiner Eni remains the retail market leader. Its position is underpinned by control of a greater proportion of the oil supply infrastructure. Many of the international majors have exited the market in recent years and the arrival of the EG Group could lead to a more developed non-fuel sector. The market is characterised by a high density of retail fuel outlets with lower throughputs than the European average. Italy has not seen the widespread entry of the hypermarkets into the fuel retail market. This has kept retail prices high and protected the independent 'white pump' operators from being priced out of the market.