Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has criticized the non-functioning tank discount and called on politicians to reconsider fair burden sharing in Germany. “I understand the resentment of the citizens when many have to cut back and make some extra profits. We have to take the anger seriously,” said Steinmeier of the “Bild am Sonntag” with a view to the hardly fallen fuel prices.

“As important as it is that we tell the citizens that the state will not be able to compensate for every increase in prices, it is also important that we ensure that some people cannot take unjustified advantages from the situation,” said Steinmeier. The government must answer the question of the right instrument for this.

The federal government is cushioning the burden of high inflation with measures such as the relief package. “In the longer term, we will have to rethink how we can achieve a fair distribution of burdens,” Steinmeier said. The debate about this must be conducted “without the parties involved imposing bans on thinking in advance”.

Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) wants to tighten antitrust law in view of the debate about the tank discount. This should allow the state to siphon off profits and, if necessary, break up the corporations without any evidence of market abuse.

Among other things, the unbundling of the mineral oil and gas station market should be made possible. In a further step, profits could be skimmed off more quickly by the Federal Cartel Office in favor of the state treasury. So far, this has been subject to high hurdles. “A right that cannot be used is not in the interests of the inventor,” Habeck told the “Spiegel”.

According to estimates by the east German gas station operators, the fuel discount will definitely lead to falling petrol and diesel prices – albeit not to the extent that was previously hoped. “We all expected a lot more,” said Hans-Joachim Rühlemann, chairman of the North-East Association of Garages and Petrol Stations, on Sunday. The prices for petrol and diesel at gas stations in eastern Germany were around the 2 euro mark on Sunday morning.

In his opinion, the fact that fuel prices have not fallen as much as hoped is due to the tense situation on the world markets. The Ukraine war, the announced oil embargo against Russia, but also an extremely high demand for diesel in the USA led to a shortage and thus to rising world market prices. “The tank discount ultimately works,” said the head of the association. However, due to the high procurement costs, it is not as strong as hoped.

According to Rühlemann, there is currently no sign of increased tank tourism to Poland. With the introduction of the fuel price brake, it had “decreased significantly”. “If I live 20 kilometers from the border, I have to look closely at the prices to see if it’s worth it.”