The sale of gasoline at filling stations this year has so far been significantly below the previous year's figures.

That comes from the figures that the Mineralölwirtschaftsverband published on Friday.

Accordingly, sales of all mineral oil products in Germany in the first quarter of this year were at least 17 percent below the previous year's values, falling from 32.5 to 26.9 million tons.

For comparison: In the same period of 2019, total sales amounted to 34.1 million tons.

Christian Siedenbiedel

Editor in business.

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    The consumption of gasoline fell by 12 percent, that of diesel by 14 percent. Sales of aviation fuel fell by 48 percent. Heating oil sales even fell by 51 percent. Only raw gasoline, which is used as a raw material in chemical production, recorded an increase of 25 percent from January to April 2021 - an indicator of an improved industrial economy.

    The association apparently primarily blamed the consequences of the corona crisis, not the high price.

    "The effects of the corona pandemic had had little impact a year ago," the association writes about the strong difference between the first quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. "From January to April 2021, sales of mineral oil products are compared to the first four months the previous year fell significantly, but is gradually recovering. ”The association blames pull-forward effects from the previous year for the low heating oil sales.

    Are drivers reacting to higher gasoline prices?

    The question of how strongly motorists actually react in their behavior to higher fuel prices is interesting against the background of the debate about climate protection. The Chancellor candidate of the Greens, Annalena Baerbock, has brought up an increase in the price of gasoline by 16 cents per liter. Among other things, SPD chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz spoke out against it. That sparked lively discussions.

    It is about a further increase in the price of gasoline. The recent price hike is not very well suited to analyzing the effect of higher fuel prices. It is not so easy to isolate how strongly motorists will react to the price increase because of the overlay with pandemic effects. But there are analyzes from the expensive autumn 2018 tank, when gasoline cost more than 1.50 euros. In the meantime, at least, fuel prices are moving again, 

    Since the beginning of the year, the introduction of a CO2 price has made gasoline and diesel more expensive in Germany by around 7 to 8 cents each.

    This CO2 price is to increase further in the next few years in order to provide incentives for lower gasoline consumption for reasons of climate protection.

    However, many motorists have the impression that they are already being hit much more severely by these measures.

    Over the year, fuels in Germany have risen by more than 25 percent.

    Expensive tank autumn 2018

    However, the rise in the price of crude oil played a central role in this.

    Crude oil had risen significantly this year in anticipation of the economic recovery after the pandemic and because of the artificial shortage of production by the oil cartel Opec.

    Last spring, North Sea Brent oil cost around $ 20 per barrel (159 liter barrel) at times.

    American oil even traded at negative prices at times.

    Brent is now over $ 71 and American oil just under $ 70.

    In the expensive autumn of 2018, with prices above 1.50 euros per liter, less gasoline was sold in Germany than usual. However, the connection does not seem to be very reliable.