A week after prices at the pump reached a two-year high over €1.50 per litre of “super” grade petrol, the minister encouraged the discounters to challenge the status quo.
“Prices always develop best through competition,” Brüderle told daily Bild. “When choice increases, prices sink.”
The minister pointed to discount supermarkets in Austria such as Aldi Süd subsidiary Hofer, which regularly offers deep discounts on fuel. Last year a Christmas sale offered gasoline for just €0.99 a litre, some €0.20 less than their competitors, Bild reported.
Brüderle also threatened big multinational fuel sellers with a state-regulated pricing.
Last week the ADAC motor club said the high cost of gasoline was not justified according to current oil market prices.
In the face of rising prices the Auto Club Europa (ACE) encouraged the German government to review regulation possibilities such as those recently implemented by Austria. Since the beginning of the year petrol stations there may raise their prices just once per day at noon, though prices may be reduced at any time.
The Austrian model would create a “cost-reducing effect,” ACE leader Wolfgang Rose said.
In the meantime, auto clubs such as ADAC recommend checking their websites to find the lowest regional prices.
While gas stations along major motorways are the priciest option, fuel pumps belonging to supermarkets or large shopping centres are often the most affordable, they say.