Fuel discount fizzles out

For forwarding agencies and logistics companies, petrol and diesel are still very expensive. The fuel discount is not fully passed on to the customers by the corporations. by Dirk Mewis

Fuel prices are rising and rising. According to the ADAC, diesel fuel cost an average of 2.054 euros per litre nationwide at the end of June. The price for Super E10 is 1.913 euros. This makes diesel even more expensive than before the introduction of the fuel rebate on 1 June – so the effect of the tax rebate is lost.

After Economics Minister Robert Habeck announced that he would take action against the mineral oil companies and their pricing policy, the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag has now presented a concept to prevent the oil multinationals from earning additional money from measures such as the fuel discount.

According to the motion, all details on the calculation of fuel prices in Germany are to be disclosed to the authorities in future. The CDU and CSU want to create clarity about the pricing of the companies. In view of the expected shortages, petrol and diesel could tend to become even more expensive.

On 1 June, the energy tax on fuel was lowered for three months. This was supposed to make petrol 35.2 cents cheaper and diesel 16.7 cents cheaper – with the aim of relieving German motorists and haulage companies in view of high inflation. But the effect did not materialise. Because crude oil is so expensive on the global markets, the industry association “Fuels and Energy” explains. “Contrary to numerous statements in politics and the media, the petrol station companies have passed on the energy tax reduction,” says Adrian Willig, Managing Director of the association.

ADAC Transport President Gerhard Hillebrand, on the other hand, is convinced that “for some months now, the rise in fuel prices can no longer be explained by the development of crude oil prices. At the same time, mineral oil companies have been able to significantly increase their margins: In the refinery sector, according to industry information, they have increased fivefold.” It is also a fact, says Hillebrand, that even before the energy tax increase, prices were significantly inflated, and only part of the fuel rebate arrives at the pump.

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Disclosure of essential price components of fuels

In order to clarify whether the petroleum industry or the ADAC is right, the CDU/CSU calls on the federal government in its motion to “consider mandatory disclosure of essential price components of fuels to the market transparency body”. Because: “This would allow the transparency body to independently assess whether an energy tax cut or other government relief is passed on by the companies to the consumers. It should report publicly on its findings.”

This is explosive because companies would have to disclose business secrets with such a report to theTransparency Body, which is based at the Federal Cartel Office. Since 2013, all price changes at petrol stations have to be reported there. In addition, crude oil prices on the world markets can be publicly monitored. The companies, on the other hand, keep the factors of price formation in the rest of the production chain to themselves.

This includes, among other things, the processing of the crude oil in the refineries, which usually belong to the oil companies, as well as costs for logistics, distribution and administration, and also for the so-called crude oil storage, which the companies have to pay, or for the blending of bio-fuels. “In order to be able to determine whether the mineral oil companies really pass on the fuel discount to their customers, we need a comprehensive overview of how the prices of petrol and diesel are made up – from crude oil production to delivery to the filling station,” explains Hansjörg Durz, a CSU member of the Bundestag. Only if the Cartel Office had the essential information on this could the authority intervene if necessary and protect citizens from excessive costs. “Of the three billion euros, two billion remain with the mineral oil companies,” columnist Jan Fleischhauer also believes. It was “the most unsuccessful gift operation of the year”.

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