SPD leader Saskia Esken does not want to rule out a temporary speed limit and driving bans if oil and fuel prices continue to rise, despite the tank discount. Esken told the Berlin “Tagesspiegel” (Sunday edition) that the mineral oil companies “are not passing the tax cut completely on to consumers, it stinks to high heaven”. She therefore called for the Cartel Office to intervene. “The mineral oil companies must not make cash at the expense of the taxpayer,” said Esken.
If fuel prices remain so high, stricter measures cannot be ruled out, emphasized Esken. An instrument alongside antitrust law is the Energy Security Act from 1975, which was passed in response to the oil crisis and amended by the traffic light coalition in May.
“It allows the government to order temporary measures like Sunday driving bans – the elderly remember – or a temporary speed limit,” said Esken. “But also price caps or – in extreme cases – placing companies in critical infrastructures of the energy supply under trusteeship for a limited period of time.”
The tank discount enforced by the FDP came into force on June 1 as part of the federal government’s relief package. It is a three-month reduction in the energy tax on fuels. In the case of petrol, the tax rates are reduced by 29.55 cents per liter and in the case of diesel by 14.04 cents, plus a lower value added tax on the total price.
After a noticeable drop immediately after the tank discount came into effect, prices at the gas stations had recently risen again every day, according to the ADAC.
Representatives of the CDU and FDP have asked Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) to take action against the oil companies because of the persistently high fuel prices. “The tank discount, worth billions, seeps away and the traffic light is watching,” said Jens Spahn (CDU), deputy chairman of the Union parliamentary group, to the “Bild”. “Ordering the oil multinationals for a report is the least that Economics Minister Habeck can do.”
The FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr also said that it must be avoided that the petroleum industry does not pass on the full tank discount to customers. “Minister Habeck must now put pressure on and, together with the Federal Cartel Office, ensure that the relief takes effect,” he told the “Bild”.