“Gasoline and diesel are still around 20 cents too expensive”

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    At least there are a few gas stations in Germany where the fuel prices are reminiscent of times before the global crises. In Leipzig, the price in the morning for a liter of premium E10 petrol at an HEM station was 1.77 euros. In Elmshorn near Hamburg at the tank center, drivers paid 1.72 euros for it at the time. The situation was similar for diesel in Pinneberg near Hamburg with 1.83 euros per liter at an OIL station and in Essen at Markant with 1.87 euros.

    What is striking after the introduction of the federal government’s tank discount: The cheapest providers are by far the independent filling stations. Oil companies such as BP with the German gas station chain Aral as well as Shell, the Esso brand or Total are usually several cents higher.

    Unlike in previous months, providers are changing their prices even more frequently and with larger cent jumps. In the course of a day, they often fluctuate by more than 20 cents in the same city. According to the trend, motorists should refuel in the early evening and prefer cheaper stations.

    After all, in contrast to neighboring European countries, Germany has a large number of medium-sized companies in the petrol station business. Around half of the total of 14,500 stations are attributed to medium-sized companies, and they account for around a third of the market share in petrol and diesel sales.

    If you compare the reduction in taxes on petrol and diesel, then the federal government has reduced the burden by 30 cents and 14 cents respectively. Added to this is the lower VAT total on the sales price. In the end, the tank discount should make the liter of petrol around 35 cents cheaper and the liter of diesel around 17 cents cheaper. However, a few cents are still missing at most petrol stations.

    According to ADAC calculations, on the day the tank discount was introduced, a liter of Super E10 cost an average of EUR 1.88 per day. That was a minus of 27 cents compared to the previous day. A liter of diesel cost 1.93 euros, almost twelve cents less than before. “This shows that the tax cut has already largely taken effect, but several cents are still missing,” said Christian Laberer, fuel market expert at ADAC.

    The automobile club is therefore calling on the mineral oil companies to pass on the tax cut to consumers in full and as quickly as possible. “An incomplete transfer means nothing more than a hidden fuel price increase and there is currently no reason for that – on the contrary,” said Laberer. According to the calculations, there is further room for price reductions.

    “Regardless of the tax cut, if it takes full effect, petrol and diesel will still be around 20 cents a liter too expensive,” said Laberer. In relation to the price of crude oil and the exchange rate between the US dollar and the euro – these are the two most important influences on the price of petrol and diesel – the gas station prices are still excessive compared to the times before Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

    The Federal Cartel Office has also become involved in the issue. Through the so-called market transparency office, the authority monitors all petrol and diesel prices at all gas stations in the country every minute. This data is shared with approved consumer information services.

    “The fact that prices went down on the day the tank discount was introduced is a good signal,” said Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt. Now it depends on what will happen in the coming days and weeks. “We will continue to monitor this very closely,” said Mundt. However, the authority cannot intervene directly against the gas station chains. In multiple tests and analyses, the cartel office was unable to prove or prove any price agreements among the oil companies.

    The large gas station chains such as Shell or Aral do not comment on their pricing. There is also no information on the sales volume. This is justified in the companies with the competitive situation and the reference to the cartel office. Nevertheless, at the start of the tank discount it became apparent that the predicted huge rush did not materialize. Long queues in front of the stations were the exception.

    Most of the gas station leaseholders had obviously tried to get supplies in good time in order to be able to use the cheaper prices at all. After all, they buy petrol and diesel products wholesale at taxed prices. Stocks from the previous month of May therefore still had to be sold at the old price calculation. The same effect should apply to the end of the tank discount, which expires at the end of August.

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