It is the number one annoyance among Germany's motorists: the high fuel prices.

So far there has been little improvement.

The price of crude oil fell a little on Friday morning, but remains exceptionally high: a barrel (159 liter barrel) of North Sea Brent costs $112, around 44 percent more than at the beginning of the year.

At the petrol station, an average of 2.10 euros is now charged for a liter of Super E10 and 2.02 euros for a liter of diesel.

Diesel cheaper than petrol again

Christian Siedenbiedel

Editor in Business.

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This means that diesel is cheaper than Super E10 for the first time since the beginning of March.

That was actually the norm, because diesel is taxed less than petrol: since the start of the Ukraine war, however, the price ratio had reversed.

The reasons were vague: Germany gets more diesel than petrol directly from Russia, it was said, heating oil is also bunkered and there is a connection with the production of diesel in the refinery.

Apparently, however, the companies have also increased their margins - the Federal Cartel Office is examining whether there have been violations of competition law.

The so-called gross fuel margin for diesel in Germany was 28.82 cents per liter in March.

The average for the previous year was only 13.43 cents.

In Austria, on the other hand, the margin was 14.10 cents in March, not much above the previous year's average of 13.93 cents.

It will be exciting what happens on June 1st.

The Bundestag and Bundesrat have approved a reduction in energy tax for this point in time, limited to three months.

In purely arithmetical terms, this means that petrol will be 29.55 cents cheaper and diesel 14.04 cents cheaper per liter.

The then smaller bills would also mean less VAT, which together could mean a reduction in the price of petrol by 35.2 cents per liter and diesel by 16.7 cents per liter.

But: It is unclear whether and to what extent the oil companies will pass the tax cut on to consumers.

The economics Monika Schnitzer had examined this type of transfer process based on the temporary reduction in VAT in 2020.

She thinks: If the results are applied to the forthcoming tax cut, without the VAT effect and with all due caution about the comparability of the phenomena, petrol should become 15 cents cheaper and diesel 11 cents cheaper.

Fuel again for less than 2 euros per liter?

For the period after June 1st, politicians in Berlin are now promising motorists that petrol prices will again be significantly less than 2 euros per liter.

At least that's what the FDP politician Johannes Vogel said on Thursday evening on Markus Lanz's talk show.

On the part of the petrol station operators, however, there are fears that there will be queues and chaos at the petrol stations if motorists want to fill up all at once on June 1st.

The oil association Fuels and Energy argues: The gas stations naturally wanted to buy as little highly taxed fuel as possible before June 1 and then sell it on at lower prices afterwards.

Therefore, they should try to start the day with as few stocks as possible - while the drivers wanted to fill up at that time.

"Therefore, temporary bottlenecks at the stations cannot be completely ruled out," said the association's managing director Christian Küchen.

The ADAC car club is more relaxed: it expects petrol stations to try to sell fuel at the old prices on June 1st.

If drivers noticed that, they could only fill up a few liters - and fill up the tank later.

Effect of the political relief package

The comparison portal Verivox once compared what the entire relief package from the federal government actually does for consumers - and comes to a rather critical assessment.

All in all, an average household has an additional burden of 2408 euros per year due to the energy price shock – the relief package, on the other hand, only brings him 1035 euros of relief.

High energy prices continue to play an important role in inflation in Germany.

On Friday, the Federal Statistical Office reported an increase in producer prices in April of 35.5 percent compared to the previous year.

That was the highest increase since records began in 1949. The most important driver is still energy.

A rise in producer prices can also drive up some consumer prices with a slight time lag.

In the case of crude oil, the price could rise even further, says Cyrus de la Rubia, oil specialist at Hamburg Commercial Bank.

He expects prices around $120 in the near future.

Russia produces less oil.

In terms of exports, new ship transports of 627,000 bars per day to India could be observed in April.

China, on the other hand, has only increased its imports "moderately" so far, said Giovanni Staunovo, oil analyst at UBS.

But a lot of oil continues to flow through pipelines into the European Union, emphasized de la Rubia: If the EU ends this, two to three million barrels a day are likely to be withdrawn from the world market in the short term - and that should have a further upward effect on the price of crude oil.