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Köhler urges higher gas prices for environment

DDP/DPA/The Local · 21 Mar 2010, 14:45

Published: 21 Mar 2010 14:45 GMT+01:00

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“We should, for instance, think about whether the price of gasoline shouldn’t actually tend to be higher rather than lower,” Köhler told weekly magazine Focus. The German head of state claimed price levels were still the strongest signal for consumers to change their behaviour.

But Germany’s ADAC automobile club fired back at Köhler's suggestion, accusing him of “demonising personal mobility.”

ADAC president Peter Meyer criticised Köhler’s contemplation of raising fuel prices as misguided.

“To the many millions of commuters who have to put up with driving long distances day after day to get to work, these kinds of remarks sound like ridicule,” he said on Sunday in Munich.

Köhler suggested government funding as a way to help low-income earners cope with higher petrol prices. “That’s not a problem we should shy away from,” he said.

Despite the solid reputation of Germany’s carmaking industry, Köhler questioned the economy’s dependence on the automotive sector. “Someone from that branch proudly told me that 60 percent of all innovations involve cars,” the president said. “That makes me rather nervous.”

Taxes account for more than 70 percent of the total fuel price in Germany. “From each tank filled, about €50 goes to the government,” ADAC's Meyer said, arguing that it’s unfair for drivers to bear the brunt of costly climate and environmental protections.

Story continues below…

But Köhler told Focus that the German government must facilitate a paradigm shift that promotes an environmentally friendly and sensible economic attitude.

“The nation that adjusts to this situation most quickly and intelligently will create jobs and prosperity,” he said.

DDP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:54 March 21, 2010 by Eagle1
This guy is unbelievable. People who voted for him should have their heads examined.
17:27 March 21, 2010 by wxman
Just as in the US, the higher gas prices are not for the environment, they are for the government.
19:18 March 21, 2010 by peter douglas
This man is driven around at the tax payers expense some who earn a living through auto mobility so what he,s trying to say is the goverment should get more money from motorists who are a already the cash cow of the govt .you are picking a wrong fight your excellency.
19:24 March 21, 2010 by Edmond Schindler
This is another outrageous way to line the governments pocket.

He is out of touch with real people, has his own chauffeur probably and hasn't foot the bill for fuel out of his own pocket for his transportation is several years himself? Lunatic!
19:47 March 21, 2010 by dbert4
You people are, "obviously" American. In the US, the gasoline taxes can't even keep up with what's required to maintain the roads. In the US gas taxes should immediately raise $1 per gallon with phased increases to $3 per gallon. This would only BEGAIN to pay for the true cost of oil.

Americans don't seem to mind paying extra money, sometimes a lot extra because some lowlife comodities traders have pushed the market price up, as is happening now. But if there is a tax increase making the prices go up, what an outrage!!

In Germany, they shouldn't raise for normal people but they should raise beyond a certain number of liters per month for companies which provide cars to their employee.
20:24 March 21, 2010 by Eagle1

You have Sheiße for brains.

"In the US, the gasoline taxes can't even keep up with what's required to maintain the roads."

The two items are completely unrelated. In the U.S., gas-tax revenue usually goes into a general fund and pays for a variety of things. The potholes are due to our lazy socialist public workers. They are protected by union laws, so they slack off and do as little work as possible.

"Americans don't seem to mind paying extra money [for gas]."

Completely dumb statement. Americans flip out if the price of gas increases by five cents. Further, we cannot control commodities prices, but we can vote out of office politicians who raise our taxes. Watch all the liberal Democrats get tossed out of office during the next general election for doing exactly that.

"In Germany, they shouldn't raise for normal people but they should raise beyond a certain number of liters per month for companies which provide cars to their employee."

How do you police that? Is some government official supposed to stand at each gas station and make sure that corporate customers pay more? Also, don't you realize that the corporations simply will pass on the costs to their customers? Maybe they'll leave Germany altogether. How would you like that?
20:39 March 21, 2010 by dbert4
Eagle1 - Your ignorance is overwhelming, you must be a Republican!

All FEDERAL gas taxes (14.8cents) go in to the Highway Trust Fund. Last year, Congress transferred $8 billion into the Highway Trust Fund to cover highway projects that taxes fell short paying for.

Other taxes on fuel are generally state and local SALES taxes which usually go into a general fund.
20:41 March 21, 2010 by ChussKeDweele
How about making public transporation more affordable? I would just love to take trains everywhere, but somehow it is cheaper to drive a bigass 3.0L V6 alone from Hamburg to Frankfurt than to take any IC/ICE train.
20:44 March 21, 2010 by Eagle1

So you essentially told me that I'm half right, and you failed to respond at all to the other points. Thanks!

Independent, not Republican, but I'm happy to vote for Republicans as long as Democrats continue to raise our taxes.
20:46 March 21, 2010 by bernie1927
We Americans don't know how well off we are, but the day of reckoning has to come, and soon. Politicians are by nature corrupt cowards. With the national debt being at an all time - off the scale - high, they will have to agree to a gasoline tax increase, even at the risk of being voted out of office. Europeans are paying $8 to $10 per gallon and we complain when the gallon hits $3, and go ballistic when we get close to $4

Our public transportation system is a laugh and our emphasis in housing is to expand the suburbs, instead of developing the cities.
21:16 March 21, 2010 by theladdie
Man Köhler has opened a can of worms!

If the price for gas would increase then the employed/low wage people can't get around to their jobs because they can neither afford the gas or the price for a new car. As awesome as these hybrid cars are, they still run on gas and yes it would might even out to be cheaper but your still paying off said hybrid. Before you weed out Gas cars for the masses by making it too expensive to run them how about making the "environmentally friendly" cars available to the masses to replace them.

I for one would buy a cheaper to run car if it where cheap to buy the damn thing.
22:03 March 21, 2010 by hanskarl
In the US the federal gas taxes go into a fund to cover the cost of new road construction (combination state and federal funding) and maintenance of the interstate highway system. The state gas tax is applied to cover maintenance those roadways under county designation and is partially shared with each county. The state gas taxes also go to: 1.) repair the county roads and state roads in that county by the area county highway departments; 2.) the city streets by the city maintenance crews in that locality.

What happens is that the politicians consistently raid the state and federal highway funds to apply to their pet pork barrel projects. It makes no difference the party as both seem to be guilty of this. Although the Democrats seems to be the best at stealing the pie from the window as in one state the Democrat controlled government has pulled nearly $1 billion from the state highway transportation fund over the past 6 years.
22:18 March 21, 2010 by peschvogel
Again, think of this as the Government is broke and will do anything to get "revenue" lines. In the US, they are creating taxes for soda and salt. It has nothing to do with cars, road repair, etc but has EVERYTHING to do with that the governments are broke. No more money and they need revenue. Anyway they can get it. In the US attack them for their soda drinks and salt because they like fast food hence the most revenue. In Germany, tax them because they have cars and this hits them where it hurts and its the "sweet spot" where the govrnment can get the most money. In Iceland, if they can tax people for having snow on their property and they will all be successful...
23:02 March 21, 2010 by Joshontour
Comment: 19:47 March 21, 2010 by dbert4 You people are, "obviously" American.

According to your profile... so are you.

That aside after looking at your comments, you must be a Democrat, you have tax & spend fever and your only comebacks are insults. Plus you mislead... you stated that the Federal fuel tax is 14.8 cents when in reality it is 18.4 cents per gallon for gasoline and 24.4 cents for diesel. Maybe you "vertippt" but it's more likely that you intentionally try to mislead. Moreover, you have nothing to back up half of your statements like, "corrupt crooked Republican "Biatchboys", "take it up the Arse from Wall Street" or my favorite, "limit the deduction, that easy." You sound like someone who runs with attack points sent out by your dear leaders, with research care of wikipedia. If your motives were really budget control, you would do well to look at the 2010- and 2011 FHA budget estimates and see how much waste is involved. From there you could focus your anger on the out of control spending rather than the less-than-sufficient tax rate. But I suspect that you could care less about reduced spending and have a little tax envy, bitterness towards capitalism, and enviromental hypochondria. Now... let's see if you can respond without using words like "shut up" "idiot" some other mindless superlative, and tell us what your problem really is.
01:29 March 22, 2010 by LiterallySimon
Why higher gas prices do not yield profit for the German government: http://www.bundesfinanzministerium.de/nn_55228/DE/Buergerinnen__und__Buerger/Mobilitaet__und__Reisen/Rund__ums__Auto/002__steigende__spritpreise.html (in German)
03:16 March 22, 2010 by Bushdiver

Why higher gas prices do not yield profit for the German government

That story is almost a year old (May 2008) Fuel taxes are definately not 59.6% these days.

Taxes in Germany are crazy anyway. It doesn't stop with fuel costs.
09:58 March 22, 2010 by mobiusro
Why does every comment round turn into a flame war and better yet, about how gas is priced in the US?!

We live in Germany people and the article is about Germany!

"Zis iz Deutschland!"

Bottom line is that we, the tax payers can moan how much we want, if they want to do it, they will do it and we will have to suck it up and swallow another round.
10:03 March 22, 2010 by dbert4
Joshontour - Indeed the tax figure was "umgekehrt" but unintentionally. Not that 4 cents a gallon isn't important, my point was and is that fuel taxes are so ridiculously low that they don't even pay for the cost maintaining the US Highway system.

And yes Politian's do raid the fund for none transportation purposes, which requires that they be replaced from the general funds.

When I was in high school my buddies and I were convinced that ALL traffic, alcohol and drug laws were unnecessary and existed for the sole purpose of limiting our options to have fun. As I got older I was able to put aside my adolescent notions and realize that such "freedoms" did indeed cause personal problems and that rules and laws to control traffic, alcohol and drug use were there for the protection of myself and society.

A large part of American society has never been able to put aside their adolescent notions with regard to taxes, guns, the environment. To them taxes=bad, guns=good and environment is no cause for concern.

And every effort to charge taxes, limit guns or protect the environment is a conspiracy to restrict their fun.

Wow, just like in high school, some people truly never do grow up.
12:14 March 22, 2010 by hanskarl
If you understood the American Constitution and the Bill of Rights you would understand that it was not based on "freedoms" but "liberty." Personal responsibility was and is and needs to be the hinge on which all decision are made. If one does not want to be personally responsible then the should not receive. The welfare state has failed in every millennium of history. What makes one think that it will work successfully now?
14:54 March 22, 2010 by dbert4
Hanskarl - Please not more Republican/Tea Bagger BS masquerading as knowledge.

Personal "liberty" aren't granted outside of the framework of society. We have responsibilites as citizens and as members of a society. One can attempt to take the position of "every man for himself" but it isn't a valid one.

"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated...As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness....No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." John Donne (1572-1631).
19:29 March 22, 2010 by wxman
@dbert4: "All FEDERAL gas taxes (14.8cents) go in to the Highway Trust Fund."

Yes, of course it does. Just like all the Social Security taxes go into a social securities fund.

Oh, by the way, the teabaggers are all in your political relm, as they have always been. If teabaggers were Tea Partiers, Nasty Pelousi would never have been elected. Everytone knows where the teabaggers align themselves politically.
22:10 March 22, 2010 by dbert4
@wxman, what is a relm?
23:00 March 22, 2010 by wxman
It's kind of like a realm, but more apropo to the thinking of socialists. It was coined recently by a Swedish political scientist. Maybe you didn't get the memo.
17:10 March 27, 2010 by Johnny Cash
Does anyone have the german figures on how much fuel tax is collected each year and how much is spent on the roading infastructure? Then we will be able to have a more informed debate. I think all taxes should be user pays because that is what they are supposed to be collected for.
16:28 March 29, 2010 by Duude
The environment is just an excuse for another round of taxes. Its the German way. The only thing better than taxes are higher taxes.
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