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German petrol prices too high, says cartel authority

The Local · 22 May 2011, 14:35

Published: 22 May 2011 14:35 GMT+02:00

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The report, which will be officially released next week, is an exhaustive study of the development of petrol prices over the last three years.

"We won't accept any further concentration of the market," the FCO President Andreas Mundt said. "Consumers who look for cheaper stations to refuel at strengthen competition."

According to the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, the FCO did not find evidence of actual price-fixing, but that this was not the aim of the report.

The FCO also investigated the practice of raising fuel prices ahead of holidays, before Easter and at weekends – sometimes only for a few days or hours.

The authority said that the structure of the market disadvantaged the consumer.

The German car fuel market is dominated by five oil companies: Aral/BP (market share: 23.5 percent), Shell (22 percent), Jet (10 percent), Esso and Total (7.5 percent each).

The FCO investigation apparently uncovered what it called "synchronous behaviour," where the two market leaders have been dictating prices to the others. If the first company increases its price, the second follows suit within hours. The other three members of the "oligopoly" then do the same. This also happens when prices are lowered, though more slowly.

The FCO believes that all the large oil companies maintain a nationwide network that observes and reports on its competitors' prices. This reportedly makes outright price-fixing unnecessary.

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The German automobile association ADAC has called on Economy Minister Philipp Rösler to protect competition. The ADAC said Germany could copy initiatives from other countries: in Austria, fuel prices can only be altered once a day, while in Australia, price increases have to be announced a day in advance.

DAPD/The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:20 May 22, 2011 by jbaker
Do you ever ask where all the Billions of Euro's in profits are going? It ultimately is to control you and all your offspring for the future.

There is enough oil in this earth to keep us polluted for thousands of years.

When is everyone reading this going to start a change in this non-sense? Start by talking to other people about the problems we have in this world and work it out. No need for fighting with each other - be more understanding - Throw your Pride and Arrogance out.

Hanging on to the old ways creates stagnancy. Make this world better for us and future generations!
17:34 May 22, 2011 by Aschaffenburgboy
It just does not work that way. Jbaker, it should, but it does not. Consumers need to make certain changes to force the governments and corporations to adjust their strategy. If we want to see alternative fuels take a leap forward, then we need to do whatever is in our power to abstain or reduce massively our dependency on the "black gold."

The problem is, we are not yet willing to make that sacrifice. But the day we are ready for it, changes will start happening.
19:43 May 22, 2011 by twisted
I've said it before and I'll say it again, as long as they government continues to reap the benefits of high fuel prices, nothing will change. 51% (if that is correct) is 51% whether gas is €0.10 or € 10.00 a liter. Higher prices mean more taxes for the government. Now if the taxes were a set amount, say € 0.50 per liter regardless of the actual cost of a barrel of oil, that would be a benefit for the consumer...but hey, who cares about the consumer?
19:44 May 22, 2011 by SockRayBlue
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
00:58 May 23, 2011 by zeddriver
Just google "oil company profits" And you will see that while oil companies do make a lot of money due to the economy of scale. It's the national governments that make the most profit. The average oil company has a clear profit after expenses of about .03 US cents per gallon. And in the US, which has some of the lowest taxes on fuel of any developed country. Makes about .50 US cents per gallon. But of course my and your government will tell you that they must punish the evil oil companies because of the "high" profits.

I don't know weather to laugh or get sick every time I read an article about oil. And all the folks get angry at the oil companies. When the biggest villain is the very government that is telling you that the oil company is the villain.

A "little" knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Remember, Oil is traded in US dollars. Therefore, The cost of oil is the same the world over. The only difference in price in one's own country is the amount of tax that your government charges you for the petrol you buy.
01:03 May 23, 2011 by jmclewis
It is not the profit's of Shell or Total it is the Monopoly Pricing in the Persian Gulf along with excessive taxes.
02:24 May 23, 2011 by zeddriver
While that may be true to a certain extent. I still say the big bad guy here is the government. EVERY time one hears of high gas prices. It is very soon followed by much howling from the government about how the oil companies are making too much money. Thus deflecting any talk of how the government is blocking the drilling of ANY new wells in the USA, Which makes us even more vulnerable to the Arabic nations.

So, To me. It seems that my government complains about oil company profits. Then it goes and institutes policies that keeps the cost of oil high.
07:40 May 23, 2011 by Bushdiver
The story posted about price increases just before weekends, holidays, and summer vacation times. This alone tells you who the biggest theif is. The government of course. I wouldn't look for any relief from the German Government on this matter.This isn't new news, it's something every motorist knows for a long time. How do they justify changing fuel prices sometimes two or thee times in one day?
09:32 May 23, 2011 by ame64
I agree, the problem is the German Government, and they will not do anything about these high prices, they get too much from it.

Maybe the green party would, but at what cost?
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