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Drivers who came to refuel at German petrol stations on Thursday morning were met with price shocks and unpleasant surprises. Since September, after three months, fuel tax cuts have stopped, so the price of petrol has risen by more than 40 cents per liter (10 CZK) overnight. Gasoline equivalent to Natural 95 is virtually impossible for him to buy for less than €2 (49 CZK) per liter.
“Prices went up really fast. I was pretty surprised,” said a driver who had filled up this morning at a petrol station near the Bellevue presidential palace. We knew it would end in September, but we didn’t expect prices to return to May levels so quickly. “I expected growth to slow,” he said.
Despite rising prices, interest in fuel has seemingly remained unchanged. “I have to refuel,” said another driver. Some drivers tried to fill up their tanks just before the refueling discount ended as the measure was called out in Germany. But those who didn’t refuel until Wednesday, the last day of the discount, may have noticed the slowly rising prices.
Even at the beginning of the week, gasoline for Berlin’s Natural 95 was less than €1.70 (41.60 CZK) per liter. Gasoline in Berlin now costs around €2.15 (52.60 CZK) per liter in most cases.
For diesel, the price increase is less dramatic, averaging about 20 cents (4.90 CZK). The Berlin driver says that a week ago he was under €2 (49 CZK), now he is paying around €2.20 (53.80 CZK) per liter.
The difference in price between gasoline and diesel is due to the difference in tax deductions. The government has reduced the gas tax by 29.55 cents (CZK 7.20) and the diesel tax by 14.04 cents (CZK 3.40). With the fuel tax cut, the value added tax (VAT) was automatically reduced and an additional 5 cents per liter was paid.
Gasoline prices dropped below 2 euros for the first time in weeks thanks to a fuel tax cut in June, only to rise above the cap again a few days later, fueling the frustration of the government and motorists. At the time, German auto club ADAC said the price hike was unfounded and that the petrochemical industry used fuel discounts to increase profits. ADAC also called on cartel offices and politicians to intervene.
Federal Economy Minister Robert Habeck said in response to the new price hikes that refueling discounts have become an invitation to distribute the booty at state costs that the government will not tolerate. It announced changes to anti-cartel laws so that temporary tax cuts cannot be abused at the expense of motorists.
Together with the reduced fuel tax, another reduced tax rate, an all-Germany monthly ticket for regional and city transport for 9 euros (CZK 220), no longer applies today. The tickets used by tens of millions of people were a big hit. Chancellor Olaf Scholz himself has called the ticket one of his government’s most successful projects. But the government refused to extend the validity of his 9 euro ticket. It is not yet clear what such a ticket would look like and how much it would cost.
The government has temporarily introduced fuel discounts and cheap air tickets to relieve residents from rising energy and fuel prices. Economists said this had a positive effect on curbing inflation. Experts do not rule out the possibility that German consumer price growth could reach 10% year-on-year. Inflation in August was 7.9%, the highest since the early 1970s, according to a preliminary report from the Bureau of Statistics. Scholz announced on Wednesday that the government will soon introduce a new set of anti-inflation and relief measures. Finance Minister Christian Lindner said the package would be worth billions of euros (tens of billions of Czech koruna). said he would.