High prices despite tank discount: Monopolies Commission sees competition problems on the oil market

Despite the tank discount, fuel prices remain high.

High prices despite tank discount: Monopolies Commission sees competition problems on the oil market

Despite the tank discount, fuel prices remain high. It remains to be seen whether the oil companies will pass the money on to customers. According to experts, the oil market fundamentally has a competition problem, which is why they believe that the tougher antitrust laws initiated by Economics Minister Habeck are necessary.

An advisory body of the federal government sees fundamental competition problems on the oil market. These were already clear before the energy crisis and the introduction of the tank discount, said the chairman of the monopoly commission, Jürgen Kühling. The more algorithms used, the more the price increases. The level at which the tank discount was passed on to the citizens, on the other hand, must be further investigated.

Economic State Secretary Sven Giegold also emphasized that the effect of the energy tax reduction cannot yet be conclusively assessed. You don't just want to look at whether the tax cut has been passed on, but also what profit margins the corporations have made. In any case, the moral pressure of the population on the oil companies was at its maximum.

On June 1st, the energy tax on petrol and diesel was reduced to relieve motorists. After that, there was a heated debate about whether the corporations passed the discount on to drivers or pocketed it themselves. The industry itself referred to increased prices on the world market. Economics Minister Robert Habeck also wants to give the Cartel Office stricter options for intervention. In addition to more powerful sector inquiries, competition watchdogs should also be able to skim off profits if companies abuse their market power. As a last resort, demergers should be possible.

The Monopolies Commission welcomed the planned sector inquiry into the oil industry. This insight into the markets is the most important tool. On the other hand, the committee is skeptical about a tightening of profit skimming. The Cartel Office can already impose fines much more frequently, but does not do so. Benefits could also be skimmed off through claims for damages. Therefore, one doubts that the tightening will change much.

In general, the Commission has recently observed less concentration among large German companies. The share of the 100 largest German companies in the overall economic value added has fallen to 14 percent in 2020. In terms of personnel and capital, the ties have not increased either.

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