Inflation in Germany is 7.9 percent, real wages have fallen by an average of 1.8 percent since the beginning of the year. For many citizens, the inflation spiral is taking its toll. Christian Lindner correctly assigned the fight against inflation “top priority”.

In his statements on Monday, he looked for the culprit and, at the same time, the greatest pressure to act in Frankfurt. The European Central Bank must end its expansive financial policy of the past few years. The FDP minister is also right about that. At the same time, however, he generously overlooked the chaos that the federal government is causing itself in the fight against inflation.

E-mobility, transport policy and future mobility: the briefing on transport and smart mobility. For decision makers

Because the tank discount threatens to fizzle out. From June to the end of August, the energy tax on motor fuels will be reduced to the minimum possible under European law – the tax rates on petrol will drop by 29.55 cents per liter and on diesel by 14.04 cents. But before the tax relief from Wednesday, fuel prices have risen sharply again and almost reached the level of mid-March.

According to ADAC figures, Super E10 cost €2.129 per liter on a nationwide daily average on Sunday. That’s 3.9 cents more than on Tuesday last week; At the end of April, fuel was more than 17 cents cheaper. Significantly higher prices were also observed regionally. In view of the recent increases, fuel prices could also be higher after the tax cut than before the start of the Ukraine war. The day before the Russian attack, E10 had cost 1,750 euros per liter.

Lindner said on Monday that the Federal Cartel Office is obliged to monitor the pricing of the mineral oil companies. However, for technical reasons, it will take “a moment” anyway for the reduction to reach the pump. Cartel Office President Andreas Mundt told the “Bild” newspaper that his authority had a close look at “every single” gas station: “The oil companies should know: We are watching their every step very closely.”

The Central Association of the Petrol Station Industry pointed out that motorists cannot expect falling fuel prices immediately everywhere. This is due to the fact that fuel is currently in stock at the petrol stations, which they bought in May, i.e. with the old tax rate. Very few operators would be able to afford “to offer the more expensive petrol and the more expensive diesel purchased cheaper,” said association manager Jürgen Ziegner of the “Rheinische Post”.

These are all market reactions that could have been anticipated. Especially when you enact a tax cut that is not even required to be passed on to the consumer. As the FDP, which is committed to the free market, one should have anticipated these reactions.

Because the fact that the usual pricing mechanisms are overridden as soon as the state intervenes is actually part of the credo of the liberals. In other European countries, the relief for drivers was implemented in a different form by paying at the checkout. However, the federal government chose the route via taxes.

The fact that Lindner pushed ahead with the tank discount in this form is illogical after everything that the FDP stands for. At best, it’s overcompensation to ward off the social indifference argument. In the worst case, it’s a throwback to the days of the Mövenpick tax. The fact that Lindner insists on compliance with the debt brake in 2023 after such an untargeted use of tax money will fall back on him.