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Government tackles holiday petrol price hikes

The Local · 30 Mar 2012, 10:43

Published: 30 Mar 2012 10:43 GMT+02:00

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With Easter school holidays starting in much of the country this weekend, motorways were expected to be full across the country.

Adding insult to traffic jam misery, petrol prices have also reached record highs with a litre of Super E10 costing an average of €1.70 in Germany on Thursday.

Germany's upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, is discussing new law on Friday which would break the control of major oil companies on petrol prices.

If agreement is found, a proposal will be put to the lower house, the Bundestag after the summer break.

The new proposal requires oil giants to warn of price changes by 2pm of the day before the change, and the new price must remain constant for at least 24 hours.

Prices would be stored in a central public database. In theory, motorists would be able to check the pump prices at stations in their area on their mobile phones.

The idea is specifically to break the hegemony of multinationals Aral and Shell. As Germany's market leaders, these companies dictate price changes at the pumps. When they raise prices, smaller suppliers generally follow suit within about five hours.

Erik Schweickert, spokesman for the government's junior coalition partner the Free Democratic Party, told Bild newspaper, "Our aim is to take measures against the racket on the roads as soon as possible. The price of petrol should be directed by supply and demand again - not public holidays."

"Millions of motorists should no longer be oppressed by the oil multinationals,” said Johannes Singhammer, of the Christian Social Union, sister party to Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union.

The government's proposal is well-timed to coincide with the highest petrol prices ever seen in Germany - on Thursday a litre of Super E10 cost an average of €1.70 in Germany.

FDP leader and Economy Minister Philipp Rösler also intends to expand the powers of Germany's cartel authorities to prevent prices being dictated by one or two companies in any given sector.

"We need more clarity and control," he told Bild. "That's why I want to give the Federal Cartel Office the tools to uncover possible abuses and to investigate them."

Story continues below…

Coinciding conveniently with the recent petrol price hike, the motorist association ADAC warned this week that traffic jams were expected on several German motorways as Easter school holidays in many parts of the country begin this weekend.

On top of increased domestic traffic, thousands of people are expected to travel through or into Germany from neighbouring countries in what the Auto Club Europa (ACE) described as "the first big travel wave of the year."

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The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:00 March 30, 2012 by freechoice
the german government should heavily subsidies the electric cars, make it cheaper for more people to buy them. at the same time install infrastructure across the country for electric charging stations. that will show them, the petrol companies, that they will become redundant soon!
13:27 March 30, 2012 by The-ex-pat
The new proposal requires oil giants to warn of price changes by 2pm of the day before the change, and the new price must remain constant for at least 24 hours.

The Australian model! Lets hope they have the balls to go through with it. Somehow I doubt it. The lobbying by the Petro companies is underway as we speak. Watch the back peddling over the next couple of days. Come Monday there will be a thousand reasons why it is not possible, will not work etc,etc,etc.
13:46 March 30, 2012 by TonyMey
The government needs to ensure the travelers are not discouraged from driving with the higher prices. With over 75ct per liter in taxes that would really hurt ¦quot;them¦quot; (the government).

Not only do they need to keep an eye on big oil companies they need to see about reducing the GAS TAX, it¦#39;s ridicules. How about doing something like Austria and Switzerland and charge a road tax for anyone with foreign plates and use that money to cut the gas tax?
15:24 March 30, 2012 by catjones
I think the german government should control all speculative markets. They know best.
23:32 March 30, 2012 by chicagolive
Charge a yearly road fee for Foreign drivers(non LKW drivers) this would cover for sure a reduction in the Gas tax which makes up more than half the price of gas. No the argument of they would find a different direction would not pan out since Germany is the largest export in Germany and a main cross road for east west North South travel in Europe so they have to go through.
05:58 March 31, 2012 by piper1
Currently the price of unleaded in Australia is € 1.10 compared to €1.70 in Germany
06:54 March 31, 2012 by stauderfan
And ur point? its $1.03ltr in California . .. Germanys screwed and that sux . .
09:44 March 31, 2012 by HerLinder
@ catjones

do something productive, will you?

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