Despite the end of the tank discount, climate protection has to take a back seat

AWith the federal government’s new relief package, motorists also get a small discount – even if the amounts involved are not very high. The CO2-Price for climate protection, which was supposed to rise from 30 to 35 euros per tonne at the turn of the year, will only be raised a year later. A spokesman for the Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) confirmed again on Wednesday that this regulation should not only apply to fuels, such as heating oil, which has risen sharply in price due to the feared gas shortage; but also for petrol and diesel. For motorists, this means that a factor that would have made fuel more expensive at the turn of the year is no longer available. The Autoclub ADAC has calculated what this means for the price at the petrol stations: It is probably only a matter of very small amounts, around 1.4 cents per liter for petrol and 1.5 cents per liter for diesel.

Gasoline should actually become more expensive by 2025

The background: The CO2-Price was 25 euros per ton of CO in January 2021 as part of the climate protection policy2 introduced and increased to 30 euros in January 2022. Now at the turn of the year it should rise to 35 euros, by 2025 to 55 euros. He is currently carrying loudly ADAC 8.4 cents per liter compared to the price of petrol and 9.5 cents per liter of diesel. That should have risen to 9.8 cents per liter for petrol and 11 cents per liter for diesel at the turn of the year. By 2025, gasoline should then be replaced by CO2– Increase the price by 15 cents per liter, diesel by 17 cents. If you also take into account the value added tax, which also increases due to the higher fuel price, the amounts are slightly higher, as reported by the association en2x Fuels and Energy, which represents the oil companies.

However, these amounts do not come close to the tax relief provided by the so-called tank discount, the temporary reduction in energy tax on fuel, which has just expired. This step involved 35 cents per liter for petrol and 17 cents per liter for diesel. “That’s a lot less than the tank discount 2.0,” says Manuel Frondel, energy expert from the RWI research institute in Essen: “It’s hardly noticeable for drivers – and therefore more of a symbolic policy.”

When it came to the tank discount, it was initially disputed whether the driver received anything at all. Gasoline prices later fell, albeit after a drop in crude oil prices. After all, in a comparison with the fuel prices in France, the Ifo Institute came to the conclusion that the tank discount in Germany had been passed on to a large extent. In any case, right on time with the end of the tank discount last Thursday, fuel had become more expensive again: Most recently, drivers paid an average of 2.16 euros for diesel and 1.99 euros for Super E10 per liter.

Climate researchers sharply criticize the decision

Ottmar Edenhofer, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, has postponed the CO2-Price hike called a “devastating signal”. He argues that the price increase would have hardly affected consumers – but would have shown that the government is not shaking up climate protection in this situation either.

Even before the introduction of the tank discount, there had been a debate among economists as to whether it would be more honest to use the CO that had just been raised2-Return price on fuel. The Würzburg economist Peter Bofinger had at least argued that the price of petrol was already “much higher than was aimed for from a climate policy point of view”. In the end, the Bundestag calculated how expensive petrol should be made with a much lower starting price. However, politics probably had the longer-term path to higher CO2– do not want to question the prices – and accepted that they use gasoline that they have only just received through the CO2-Price had increased, then reduced by the tank discount.

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