Millions of drivers are looking forward to the tank discount: From Wednesday, June 1st, fuel should become significantly cheaper!
But there is great concern that the oil multinationals will not pass on the discount – and instead fill their pockets.
In the BILD interview, the President of the Federal Cartel Office, Andreas Mundt (61), promises to keep a close eye on the corporations and petrol station operators.
BILD: Mr. Mundt, the tank discount starts on Wednesday. Can you guarantee that a liter of petrol will then be 35 cents cheaper and a liter of diesel 17 cents cheaper?
mouth: “The oil companies are not legally obliged to pass on the tax cut one-to-one. The Bundeskartellamt cannot set petrol prices. Our options are limited. We are a competition authority, not a price authority.”
Does that mean the oil multinationals can pocket the discount themselves?
mouth: “We will do everything to ensure that nobody can cheat. We are currently monitoring price developments even more closely than usual and will continue to do so in the coming months. After all, it’s not just what happens on June 1 that matters – it also depends on whether the tank discount is granted in the months that follow.”
Do you think the lower fuel taxes make sense?
mouth: “Fuel prices have risen dramatically and for many people in Germany it is crucial for how much money is left in their wallets at the end of the month. For some motorists, the tax cut is really necessary.”
Will you use special fuel sheriffs from June?
mouth: “We have already increased the number of employees responsible for petrol prices. We keep a close eye on each of the 14,500 petrol stations in Germany. The oil companies should know: We are watching their every step very closely. In the interest of motorists, we will ensure maximum transparency with prices.”
What are the penalties for oil multinationals for illegal price fixing?
mouth: “It really depends on the case. But now the tank discount should start.”
Experts complain that petrol is already much more expensive than necessary and that drivers are being ripped off. Why don’t you step in?
mouth: “Gasoline prices have been rising again since the beginning of May. So far, however, we have not been able to identify any prohibited collusion.”
How great is the risk that the price shock will lead to new illegal price agreements and cartels in retail, for example?
mouth: “You can’t really say that, but of course there is a certain risk that companies will try to pass on their increased costs by means of agreements. It would therefore not surprise me if we soon uncover one or the other cartel that is currently forming.”
Do you have any specific information?
mouth: “No. But we look closely everywhere. Nobody should feel safe there.”
Has the head of the cartel office ever uncovered a prohibited cartel himself?
mouth: “I go shopping very consciously, look at all the prices carefully. Once when I was on vacation with my family, we had to stay at the hotel a day longer than planned. We booked the hotel through a booking platform. The hotel asked for more money for the extra night because the platform had dictated that they offer the rooms on site more expensively than on the platform. The Federal Cartel Office then investigated this practice. The result was years of proceedings against platforms like Booking, which we ultimately won before the Federal Court of Justice. Since then, hotel owners have regained the power to set their own prices.”
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