Economists: Low water drives up fuel prices

Why do Germans have to spend more money on refueling even though the oil price is falling? Researchers are now protecting the oil companies – at least somewhat.

An only half-loaded oil freighter enters the port of Ruhrort.

IIn the dispute about who is to blame for the high gasoline prices, the oil industry is getting at least some support from the RWI economic research institute in Essen. On the basis of a study, the institute stated that the drought and low water levels of the Rhine and its tributaries were at least a “major reason” for the rise in gasoline prices, but not the only one.

According to RWI researcher Manuel Frondel, whether the mineral oil companies would also have posted something cannot be clarified on the basis of the calculations: “On the basis of our data, we cannot say whether the situation will be exploited to expand margins.”

Meanwhile, the automobile club ADAC reports that the prices at the petrol station have now fallen in a weekly comparison. A liter of diesel now costs an average of 1.388 euros in Germany, 4.5 cents less than a week ago. A liter of Super E10 fell by 3.5 cents to 1.491 euros. The ADAC still considers the pricing to be “excessive”.

The RWI stated that cities like Stuttgart are particularly affected by the surcharges for fuel, which are relatively heavily dependent on inland shipping for the supply of fuel. Hamburg, on the other hand, as a location close to the coast, can benefit from better supply, so that the difference is smaller there.

However, the price difference between petrol and crude oil has also increased there. While the difference between the price of Brent crude oil and the price of petrol (E10) used to be 85 cents per liter, this value has risen since May and has reached almost EUR 1.05. Since October the prices for crude oil have even fallen, while the prices for gasoline and diesel have risen. Critics say that the importance of inland waterways for gasoline supply in Germany is being exaggerated by the oil companies.