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DRIVING

Drivers in Germany face higher fuel prices in the morning

Drivers in Germany have to pay significantly higher costs for petrol and diesel if they fill up their tank in the morning rather than the evening, a report has found.

A car being filled up with fuel in Berlin on June 1st.
A car being filled up with fuel in Berlin on June 1st. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christophe Gateau

German automobile club, the ADAC, compared the cost of filling up on fuel at different times of the day in a study conducted in May. 

And the car experts found that an evening trip to the gas station can save a lot of money in the long run.  They found that fuel was much pricier in the morning compared to later on in the day.

During May, the difference between the price peak in rush hour and the low in the evening for diesel was more than 16 cents, the ADAC said.

This is more than twice as much as a year ago – and the highest figure ever recorded by the transport club in its analysis, which has been carried out annually since 2015.

For Super E10 petrol, the price difference between the high and low was around 10 cents – which is also an increase compared to the previous year.

Driving experts slammed the large price differences.

“In the morning rush hour, there was once again an attempt to charge particularly high prices to some customers,” said ADAC expert Jürgen Albrecht.

According to the study, the price was highest in the morning at around 7am. At this time diesel was on average 12 cents and Super E10 more than 6 cents above the daily average. In the late evening, on the other hand, diesel was around 5 cents below the daily average, and E10 just under 4 cents.

The ADAC found that the first price rises for fuel at the pumps arrive shortly before 5am and last until 7am. Prices then fall sharply until 9am, only to rise again at around 10am. From there, the price gradually drops throughout the day in a wave movement.

According to the ADAC, the cheapest times to fill up at the pumps in May were between 6 and 7pm, and between 8 and 10pm. This was also the case in previous years. Experts say prices remain fairly stable during the night. 

As The Local has been reporting, Germany brought in a fuel tax cut for the months of June, July and August as part of a raft of measures aimed at providing some financial relief during the energy crisis. 

But there have been concerns that oil companies are not passing on the tax cut to customers. 

READ ALSO: Has Germany’s fuel tax cut failed?

Nevertheless, ADAC says it’s still likely that evening is the best time to fill up tanks – but urged motorists to think carefully about how they get fuel. 

“In June, the cards have been reshuffled by the current shifts,” said Albrecht, referring to the tax cut which has shaken up the fuel market. 

“The periods from 6 to 7pm and from 8 to 10pm will probably remain particularly favourable,” he added. “However. In addition, motorists should keep their eyes open and consciously promote competition through their refuelling behaviour. And if you do have to fill up in the morning, smaller quantities are often enough.”

The ADAC said its analysis included prices from almost all petrol stations in Germany.

Vocabulary

Fuel – (der) Sprit

To fill up/to refuel – Tanken 

Much more expensive – viel teurer

The difference between – der Unterschied zwischen

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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ENERGY

Germany to spend €200 billion to cap soaring energy costs

Germany is to ditch plans for a gas levy on consumers and introduce a gas price cap to curb soaring bills, Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced on Thursday.

Germany to spend €200 billion to cap soaring energy costs

The government will plough €200 billion into shielding households and businesses from skyrocketing energy costs in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“The German government will do everything so that prices sink,” Scholz said at a press conference via video link because he is currently isolating due to a Covid infection. He said the package includes a gas price cap and a plan to cream off windfall profits made by some energy companies.

The package is designed to ensure that Germany can contend with the fallout from rising prices “this year and next year and the one after that”, Scholz said.

As expected, the controversial gas levy plans are being shelved. The government had been planning to pass on some of the soaring costs of energy to consumers from October to prop up struggling suppliers.

READ ALSO: Will Germany set a gas price cap – and how would it work?

With electricity and gas prices spiralling upwards, the leaders of Germany’s 16 federal states on Wednesday called on the government to introduce an energy price cap.

Several other politicians – also within the government’s own traffic light coalition – had also urged for the levy to be scrapped and a price cap to be introduced.

Scholz said there should be no extra burden for consumers and companies. “With the €200 billion, we have the means to finance all of this,” he said, adding that the gas levy was no longer needed. 

Protection from rising prices was needed for “pensioners, workers, families… but also bakers and craftsmen or big industrial plants that are dependent on electricity and the gas supply”, Scholz said.

Scholz pointed out that gas storage facilities in Germany are currently more than 90 percent full. “We will do everything we can to use the storage facilities for the winter,” he said. 

‘Energy war’

Germany, which has been highly dependent on imports of fossil fuels from Russia to meet its energy needs, has been battling to find other sources as supplies dwindle.

Thursday’s announcement came as inflation in Germany soared to a 70-year high of 10 percent in September, according to official data, driven higher by spiking energy prices.

“We find ourselves in an energy war over prosperity and freedom,” Finance Minister Christian Lindner said at the press conference.

A person turns down the radiator in Germany. Gas bills are set to rise significantly.

A person turns down the radiator in Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marcus Brandt

Protecting consumers against the rising bills was a “crystal clear answer” to Russian President Vladimir Putin that Germany was “strong economically”.

The gas price cap should cover “at least a part” of the gas used by households and businesses, while “maintaining an incentive to reduce gas use” over the winter as supplies are limited, the government said in a statement.

At the same time, the government would work to limit the price of electricity for consumers by skimming off profits made by energy firms that have profited by the higher asking prices for gas but which do not use the energy source to generate power.

The gas levy would have seen 2.4 cents per kilowatt hour added to gas bills, adding an extra burden of several hundred euros per household. The government announced it would also reduce VAT on gas consumption to seven percent, down from the usual 19 percent. 

There had been major controversy over the surcharge after it emerged that some companies registered to receive a share included firms that have not been struggling in the current situation. 

Economics and Climate Minister Robert Habeck admitted mistakes in the design of the levy and he had pledged to change it. 

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