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DRIVING

When is the best time for drivers in Germany to fill up cars with fuel?

Drivers in Germany can save money by filling up their fuel tank at certain times of the day.

A driver fills up the fuel tank on a car in Hamburg.
A driver fills up the fuel tank on a car in Hamburg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Reinhardt

Anyone who drives in Germany at the moment will be aware that fuel prices change frequently during the course of the day. A recent study by the German Automobile Club (ADAC) showed that people who fill their cars in the evening can save on cash.

In July, the ADAC found an average difference of 12 cents per litre between the peak in the morning rush hour and the evening hours. The cheapest time to get fuel was between 9pm and just before 10pm.

This year, the ADAC repeated its annual May survey in July to track the development of fuel prices over the course of the day.

READ ALSO: Drivers face higher fuel prices in the morning

The decision to repeat the study was due to continued turbulence on the markets as well as the German government’s three-month tax cut on petrol and diesel. It meant that the typical development of prices was called into question, according to experts.

But in their repeat study this summer, the ADAC found that not much has changed in the fluctuating daily prices of fuel.

Typically, costs rise from around 5am to the morning peak at about 7am. In July, prices for both diesel and E10 were then eight cents higher than the daily average.

From this peak, the price curve for both fuels then runs downwards in waves.

From the early afternoon onwards, the price is typically below the daily average. From shortly after 4pm until shortly before 10pm it’s at least two cents lower with slight fluctuations.

If you fill up shortly before 7pm or between 9pm and shortly before 10pm you can save more: up to four cents compared to the daily average. At night there are barely any price changes for filling up the tank.

The 12 cent difference between E10 and diesel is comparatively high. Since 2015, the ADAC has conducted the survey once a year in May. It has never found a greater difference between morning and evening for E10, and only once before for diesel: in May of this year it was an extraordinary 17 cents.

It comes as Germany’s fuel tax cut is set to expire at the end of August. The government brought in the measure for the months of June, July and August as part of a package aimed at providing some financial relief during the energy crisis. 

READ ALSO: How much money will you get from Germany’s energy relief measures?

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DRIVING

EXPLAINED: The rules for riding an e-scooter in Germany

The popularity of electric scooters in Germany has exploded in the last few years, but many people still aren't sure what the rules for driving them are. We break them down.

EXPLAINED: The rules for riding an e-scooter in Germany

Germany is currently the world’s second-largest market for e-scooter rental after the USA, which might explain why you have the feeling that you’re seeing the electric vehicles everywhere these days, at least in cities. 

According to a recent survey by ADAC,15 percent of people in Germany aged 16 and over regularly use e-scooters. Of these, 45 percent own their own scooter, while 55 percent rent the vehicles from sharing services.

Here are the rules for driving an e-scooter that you need to know.

Who can drive an e-scooter?

Anyone over the age of 14 can ride an electric scooter and you don’t need to have a driving license to use one. However, many of the traffic rules for motorists also apply to e-scooter riders, and misbehaving on a scooter could end up costing you points on your driving license or even getting you a driving ban.

READ ALSO: Driving in Germany: Eight German road signs that confuse foreigners

Can more than one person ride an e-scooter?

No. Only one person is allowed to ride a scooter and if you are caught riding in two, you will get a €10 fine.

Although it might be fun, riding side by side on two scooters is also not allowed and can be punished with a fine of between €15 and €30. Instead, you and your friends have to ride in single file.

Where can you ride an e-scooter?

E-scooters are principally allowed on bike paths and in bike lanes and you can only drive them on the road if there is no bike lane available. If you do drive on the road, you must keep as far to the right as possible and you are not allowed to ride in bus lanes.

It’s also forbidden to ride an e-scooter on the motorway – doing so will get you a €20 fine. 

Riding an e-scooter on the pavement, in pedestrian-only zones, or in one-way streets against the direction of traffic is also not allowed and can land you a fine of between €15 and €30.

However, e-scooters are allowed on one-way or no-entry roads which have a “cyclists free” sign.

A no-entry sign with a “cyclists free” sign underneath. This sign also applies to e-scooters. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Jens Kalaene

Which traffic light rules apply to electric scooters?

E-scooter riders have to abide by traffic lights just like motorists, and the fine for ignoring a red light on an e-scooter is between €60 and €180.

However, if there is also a traffic light for bicycles, e-scooter riders can follow this one instead.

Is there an alcohol limit for electric scooters?

Yes, the same alcohol limits for motorists apply to electric scooter riders.

This means that anyone who drives with a blood alcohol level of between 0.5 to 1.09 is liable for a fine of €500, a 1-month driving ban and 2 points on their driving license.

It’s a criminal offence to ride an electric scooter with a blood alcohol concentration of at more than 1.1, as is causing an accident with a blood alcohol level of more than 0.3.

Under 21s must be completely alcohol free – with a blood alcohol level of 0.0 – to ride an e-scooter.

Where can e-scooters be parked?

E-scooters can be parked at the roadside, on the pavement and in pedestrian zones with designated e-scooter parking areas. However, e-scooters must be parked in such a way that they don’t obstruct or endanger pedestrians or other road users. 

Parked e-scooters in Stuttgart. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Schmidt

Which rules are there for e-scooter owners?

If you’ve upgraded from renting to owning your own scooter, there are certain requirements you have to be aware of. 

Firstly, it’s mandatory to have liability insurance and a special sticker (similar to a license plate) stuck to the scooter to show that it is insured.

READ ALSO: German words you need to know: Haftpflichtversicherung

E-scooter owners also have to make sure that they have two independently working brakes and lights. 

Which other rules should I be aware of?

As with driving a car or cycling, you are not allowed to use your mobile phone while riding an e-scooter (which is pretty challenging anyway). If you’re caught doing so, you’ll get a €100 fine and a point on your driving license. 

It’s not mandatory to wear a helmet when riding an e-scooter, though it is recommended. 

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