The mineral oil companies are criticized for high fuel prices. The fuel tax reduction hardly reaches the customer. In the coalition, demands are getting louder to skim off “excess profits”.

In view of rapidly increasing energy prices, there are increasing numbers of votes in the traffic light coalition for an additional tax for mineral oil companies.

SPD leader Lars Klingbeil wants to tax “crisis and war winners” more heavily. It cannot be that the mineral oil companies “fill their pockets even more in the crisis,” said Klingbeil to the newspapers of the Funke media group. The SPD chairman was open to a so-called excess profit tax to skim off extreme crisis profits.

Green leader Ricarda Lang also supports the idea and had already brought it into play at the beginning of May. “We have been observing a decoupling of the price of crude oil and gas station prices for months. A few are benefiting, while a large number of medium-sized companies are suffering from the high energy prices and are wondering how they are going to get through the next year. The excess profit tax would be a logical step, »Lang told the «Tagesspiegel». Green party leader Katharina Dröge also considers this levy to be a possible answer.

Fuel prices continued to rise

The petroleum companies are being criticized for the high fuel prices. A cut in energy taxes on Wednesday only caused prices to drop temporarily. Recently they had risen again in many places. According to the ADAC, the price for Super E10 rose again on Saturday morning. Diesel was roughly at the level of the previous day. According to the traffic club, both fuels were too expensive. “There is clearly not enough for the consumer,” said an ADAC spokesman. “The development is going in the completely wrong direction.”

Klingbeil said that in view of the relief packages worth billions, he was working intensively on the question of how to deal with the winners of the crisis and the war, who were benefiting greatly from the current situation. Dröge told the German Press Agency on Saturday that Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine had contributed to the dramatic rise in fossil energy prices. “Companies, such as mineral oil companies, have increased their sales prices in some cases significantly more than the purchase prices would have made it necessary.”

Dröge called it a problem when, in a situation in which people were already suffering from extremely high prices, corporations used their market power to increase profits even further: “If energy corporations make excessive profits in this crisis, you have to have a so-called Discuss excess profit tax.» Dröge pointed out that other European countries have already gone this route.

Are certain profits “immoral”?

SPD parliamentary group leader Matthias Miersch is also pushing for stricter laws. “We have to ask ourselves whether certain profits are not immoral,” he said to the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” (Saturday): “Politicians must now consider what answers they have in addition to financial relief that get to the root of the problem pack.” This also includes skimming off so-called excess profits.

Union parliamentary group leader Jens Spahn (CDU) expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of the temporarily reduced mineral oil tax. “The traffic light now has to take a close look to see whether the tax cut really means a price reduction,” he told the “Bild am Sonntag”. “If the oil multinationals pocket it, you have to siphon off these unjustified extra profits with a tax, like in Great Britain. The relief must reach the citizens.”

It should be fair in Germany

Support also came from the Paritätischer Gesamtverband. “An excess profit tax is a sensible proposal and is necessary from a budgetary point of view, because we will not be able to avoid further relief packages,” said general manager Ulrich Schneider of the editorial network Germany (RND). “People need to know that things are fair in Germany. The revenue from the excess profit tax could be used to finance further measures to cushion inflation.”

Ifo boss Clemens Fuest, on the other hand, warned against such a step. In the current situation, he does not believe in special taxes for excess profits. “The profits are taxed. Introducing special taxes for individual sectors depending on the economic situation opens the door to arbitrariness and populism,” he told the Rheinische Post.

The President of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), Marcel Fratzscher, spoke out in favor of an end to the tax relief that has been in effect since Wednesday for three months until the end of August. Many had predicted that the fuel price brake would be counterproductive and would mainly end up in the pockets of the oil companies, the economist wrote on Twitter on Saturday: “How about politicians admitting their mistake and stopping the fuel price brake immediately?”