The tank discount is actually intended to relieve citizens of the high fuel prices. But thanks to a lousy scam, the mineral oil companies ensure that the tax breaks end up with them and do not even reach the consumer. The traffic light is thereby presented.

The international oil companies know how to turn oil into gasoline and war into profit. The German politicians, who wanted to make themselves popular with their voters with a tax rebate, are presented like schoolboys in the Feuerzangenbowle. With the words of the strict teacher Doctor Seidel alias Heinz Rühmann one would like to call out to Olaf Scholz, Robert Habeck and Christian Lindner:

The fact is: the three billion euros that the German state is investing in a three-month reduction in energy tax will end up in the coffers of multinational corporations by the end of the year. The industry is expecting record profits in 2022, which it owes to a proven magic formula in which its own audacity is leveraged by the naivety of politicians.

The trick used here is so transparent that one can only wonder about the lack of professionalism on the part of the state.

1. The mineral oil companies with their huge legal departments understood immediately that a tax rebate from the state does not have to be passed on to the customer one-to-one. The local petrol station leaseholders can also be leveraged immediately. The power to set prices lies exclusively with the mineral oil companies.

2. To make it appear as if the company is being consumer-friendly and respectful of the federal government, the prices for diesel were reduced yesterday by an average of 10 cents and for Super E10 by 27 cents. As expected, dpa reported:

3. In truth, the prices for a liter of petrol had previously risen sharply, from 1.70 euros at the beginning of the year to up to 2.15 euros shortly before the introduction of the tank discount. According to ADAC, Super E10 cost 2.13 euros per liter on Monday on a nationwide daily average, 4.3 cents more than on Tuesday of the previous week. During the same period, diesel went up by 3.5 cents to €2.03 per liter. That would mean that the corporations had built up a price cushion.

The tank discount will fizzle out because the mineral oil companies have previously driven prices up, says Herbert W. Rabl from the interest group for gas station leaseholders and owners in the most open manner. The man knows his Pappenheimers.

The ADAC, which monitors fuel prices for professional reasons, also points out the machinations of the mineral oil companies with great clarity:

The level of fuel prices cannot currently be justified by the price of crude oil or the exchange rate. “

The petroleum industry “created a comfortable starting point” before the tank discount was approved and came into effect.

And the Federal Cartel Office is already keeping its eyes open: In a statement dated May 31 – i.e. the day before the introduction of the tank discount – the President of the Federal Cartel Office, Andreas Mundt, wrote:

Conclusion: The honest is the stupid and the bold gets rich. Next time, the federal government should put the billions into buying shares in Shell, Chevron, Exxon Mobil or Conoco Phillips. If she had invested in Conoco Phillips at the beginning of the year, she would not have wasted three billion tax dollars, but made a profit of €1.67 billion.

Gabor Steingart is one of the best-known journalists in the country. He publishes the newsletter The Pioneer Briefing. The podcast of the same name is Germany’s leading daily podcast for politics and business. Since May 2020, Steingart has been working with his editorial staff on the ship “The Pioneer One”. Before founding Media Pioneer, Steingart was, among other things, Chairman of the Management Board of the Handelsblatt Media Group. You can subscribe to his free newsletter here.