Dhe petrol prices in Germany are on the verge of a significant increase: in the coming week, the three-month reduction in the energy tax on fuel, the so-called “tank discount”, will end. The first price increases can already be observed, such as the car club ADAC reported. The higher tax rate will then apply again from Thursday next week: Super E10 should then be 35 cents more expensive per liter, diesel 17 cents. Based on current prices, that would be around EUR 2.08 per liter for Super E10 and EUR 2.14 for diesel. “That would indeed be my expectation,” says the Munich economist Monika Schnitzer, who two years ago analyzed the price changes following the temporary VAT reduction in detail: “But there may also have been a small anticipated price increase before that – that was the end of 2020, before the temporary VAT reduction expires.”
Some prices have already been raised
It will be exciting: Will the mineral oil companies manage to pass on the higher tax in full to drivers? When the tax was cut in June, there had been a long debate about whether the tax cut would be passed on. At that time, the prices for petrol and diesel had already risen before the date, fell sharply on the day itself, but rose again on the second day. In the weeks that followed, crude oil became cheaper, and with it gasoline. Comparisons with petrol prices in France had at least suggested that the tax cut, which was limited to three months, had had an effect in Germany.
So this should be reversed now. “I’m not expecting an abrupt price increase from one day to the next,” says Manuel Frondel, an energy specialist at the RWI research institute in Essen. “Rather, I’m assuming that prices are already gradually increasing over the next few days.” In any case, drivers would then have to expect prices at the gas station of more than 2 euros per liter for Super E10 and more than 2.10 euros per liter for diesel.
At least the oil companies are speculating that there could be a heavy rush at the gas stations shortly before the tax is raised again in the coming week. In any case, the petroleum industry association Fuels und Energie advises motorists to always refuel in good time. The situation is becoming a “logistical challenge”: “Our logisticians are doing everything they can to maintain the supply even under these difficult conditions and to prevent bottlenecks,” said Adrian Willig, Managing Director of the association.
It seems controversial whether the gas stations will not be able to resell the old petrol that they bought cheaply after the date of the tax increase. While the ADAC sees it that way and thinks that the petrol stations would certainly fill up their fuel stores again before September 1st, the association of oil companies argues that the high demand before the date will already ensure that the stores are cleared: “Because the drivers before the end of the tank discount, we expect that from September 1st there will not be many more tax-privileged petrol and diesel on offer,” says the association.
According to the ADAC, the first price increases can already be observed. After a week-long decline and short-term stagnation, prices went up again, as the car club announced. Super petrol of the E10 variety increased from Sunday to Monday from around 1.717 to 1.730 euros per liter. Diesel cost 1.974 instead of 1.964 euros per liter. On a weekly basis, the gas price by 2.6 cents, the diesel price by 6 cents per liter. According to the ADAC, one reason for the increase is probably higher demand in view of an imminent price jump in the coming week. “Some of the price adjustments are already being anticipated,” said Steffen Bock, Managing Director of the Clever-Tanken internet platform. However, the price of crude oil had recently risen again somewhat to 101 dollars per barrel (159 liter barrel) of the North Sea variety Brent, but it is well below the June prices.
Fuel prices are national averages anyway. The actual prices can differ significantly: According to information from the ADAC, there are currently larger price differences than usual depending on the provider and region. There is also a further large north-south divide: Among other things, due to the high transport costs due to the low water in the Rhine, people in the south have to pay more for fuel on average than in the north. In Constance on Lake Constance, for example, diesel costs an average of more than 2.16 euros per liter, Super E10 1.84 euros. In addition, the prices fluctuate considerably over the course of the day, according to ADAC on average by 12 cents a day: fuel is usually the most expensive at 7 a.m. in the morning. It is cheapest for drivers to refuel between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.