According to a media report, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) wants to react to the high fuel prices despite the tank discount by tightening antitrust laws. As the “Spiegel” reported on Sunday, according to the plans, the state should be able to siphon off the profits of mineral oil companies without proof of market abuse and, if necessary, break up the companies.
Habeck accuses the oil companies of not passing on the tax deduction on petrol and diesel from the federal government’s relief package to consumers.
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“The first data sets by the Federal Cartel Office on the tank discount show that the gap between crude oil and gas station prices has risen sharply since the beginning of the month,” Habeck told the “Spiegel”.
Apparently, “what many experts had warned about has happened: the mineral oil companies are reaping the profits, the consumers are not noticing the tax cut”.
According to the magazine, as a reaction, Habeck is planning a significant tightening of antitrust law, which would enable the competition authorities to intervene structurally in markets – without having to prove a violation of competition law.
A position paper from the Ministry of Economics, from which the “Spiegel” quotes, says: “There is a parallel behavior in the prices in the market.” This means that the companies know the prices of their competitors at the gas stations because the market is very transparent.
“This means that even without an anti-trust agreement, the prices are very quickly aligned; abuse of competition law is difficult to prove,” it says.
The change in antitrust law is intended to create an opportunity to unbundle the mineral oil and gas station market, among other things. In a further step, the Federal Cartel Office should be able to skim off the profits more quickly.
The tank discount enforced by the FDP came into force on June 1 as part of the federal government’s relief package. It is a three-month reduction in the energy tax on fuels. In the case of petrol, the tax rates are reduced by 29.55 cents per liter and in the case of diesel by 14.04 cents, plus a lower value added tax on the total price.