German drivers face higher fuel costs than neighbouring countries

Prices for petrol and diesel in Germany have risen above those of neighbouring countries since the end of the fuel tax reduction.

The price of premium gasoline and diesel is displayed on September 1st in Munich.
The price of premium gasoline and diesel is displayed on September 1st in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Felix Hörhager

The cost of fuel in Germany has risen significantly and is now higher than in all directly neighbouring EU countries, according to the Federal Statistical Office.

According to the report, the price differences compared with other countries amount to an average of up to 69 cents per litre.

In the three months of the fuel discount from June to August, however, fuel prices in Germany had been at or slightly below the price level of neighbouring countries.

From June 1st until the end of August, energy taxes on fuel in Germany were reduced to the EU minimums, as the traffic light coalition government cut the duty on fuel by about 35 cents per litre for petrol and about 17 cents for diesel.

But on September 1st the prices shot back up again.

READ ALSO: Everything that changes in Germany in September 2022

The main reason for the high fuel prices in Germany is the Russian war in Ukraine and the resulting rise in crude oil prices. Prior to the war, Germany had sourced around a third of its oil from the country.

How do fuel prices in Germany compare to other countries?

According to official statistics, motorists in Germany paid an average of €2.07 for a litre of Super E5 petrol and €2.16 for a litre of diesel last Monday. In Denmark, prices were similar at €2.04 for Super E5 and €2.07 for diesel, while in the Netherlands, the second most expensive neighbouring country, they were six and 11 cents below the German average, respectively.

In other neighbouring countries, fuel was significantly cheaper. In Poland, Super E5 petrol cost an average of €1.38 per litre last Monday, and diesel €1.61. In France, the Czech Republic and Luxembourg, too, the average price was at least 30 cents less per litre than in Germany. In Belgium, Super E5 cost €1.69 per litre, diesel €2.02; in Austria, it was €1.74 for Super E5 and €1.90 for diesel.

Social policy expert with the Left Party in the Bundestag, Sören Pellmann, told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung that the high fuel prices in Germany were a “result of policy failures of the traffic light coalition”.

READ ALSO: German petrol costs rise sharply after tax cut ends

Pellmann pointed out that mineral oil companies would rake in almost €40 billion in additional profits this year, and demanded that the federal government “skim off this money and permanently stop the self-enrichment at the expense of commuters”.

In France, he said, fuel prices were around 40 cents lower. “That’s the benchmark for the federal government,” he said. 

Bavarian state premier Markus Söder has also spoken out in favour of lowering fuel taxes again.

“It would be a real relief for people in rural areas if the fuel rebate were extended,” the CSU leader told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

“It is no longer just about helping low-income earners, but also to prevent normal earners from becoming low-income earners,” Söder said.

READ ALSO: Fuel in Switzerland: Why Germans are crossing the border to fill up

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Norway and Germany seek Nato-led cooperation for key undersea structures

Germany and Norway want to start a NATO-led alliance to protect critical underwater infrastructure, their leaders said on Wednesday, weeks after explosions hit two key gas pipelines in the fallout from the war in Ukraine.

Norway and Germany seek Nato-led cooperation for key undersea structures

 “We are in the process of asking the NATO Secretary General to set up a coordination office for the protection of underwater infrastructure,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told a press conference in Berlin.

“We take the protection of our critical infrastructure very seriously and nobody should believe that attacks will remain without consequences,” he said.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said the alliance would be “an informal initiative to exchange between civilian and also military actors” with NATO providing “a centre, a coordination point”.

Underwater cables and pipelines were “arteries of the modern economy” and it was necessary to create “a coordinated joint effort to ensure security for this infrastructure”, he said.

Scholz said he and Store would propose the plan to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who is due in Berlin for a security conference. The Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines off the Danish island of Bornholm were targeted by two huge explosions at the end of September.

The pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany, had been at the centre of geopolitical tensions as Moscow cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected
retaliation to Western sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.

Although they were not in operation when the leaks occurred, they both still contained gas which spewed up through the water and into the atmosphere.

Russia and Western countries, particularly the United States, have traded bitter barbs over who is responsible for the blasts.

Several European countries have since taken steps to increase security around critical infrastructure. 

The G7 interior ministers warned earlier this month at a meeting in Germany that the Nord Stream explosions had highlighted “the need to better protect our critical infrastructure”.

Norway has become Europe’s main gas supplier in the wake of the war in Ukraine, taking the place of Russia.

The Scandinavian country has a vast network of pipelines, stretching for almost 9,000 kilometres, linking it to the continent, which experts have said are at risk of sabotage.