Politicians want to mitigate the consequences of high energy prices for passengers in local transport and for car owners, with billions from the state budget. A first hurdle has been overcome, another one follows.
Traveling through Germany will be cheaper in summer: Two Bundestag resolutions from late Thursday evening not only make refueling and driving a car cheaper for a period of three months, but also bus and train journeys.
The prerequisite is that the Federal Council also votes for the 9-euro ticket and its financing on Friday. Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) emphasized that these measures would benefit the citizens – “directly, quickly and purposefully”.
Inexpensive travel in June, July and August
According to the plans of the SPD, Greens and FDP, there will be monthly tickets for 9 euros in June, July and August, with which people can use all buses and trains in local and regional transport throughout Germany. The loss of income is to be compensated for by the federal government – this is what the law passed by the Bundestag provides for. However, the planned subsidy of 2.5 billion euros does not go far enough for some countries, which is why the necessary approval from the Federal Council is still pending on Friday.
For the same three-month period, the Bundestag decided to reduce the energy tax on motor fuels to the minimum permitted in the EU. In the case of petrol, the tax burden is temporarily reduced by 29.55 cents per liter – including VAT even by almost 35.2 cents. With diesel, there is a minus of a good 14 cents per liter or 16.7 cents with VAT.
A reaction to the sharp rise in energy prices
With these measures, the coalition is reacting to the sharp rise in energy prices in recent months. In addition, the 9-euro ticket is a “huge opportunity” for climate-friendly mobility, explained Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) at the final plenary debate. From his point of view, the project is already a success: “All of Germany is talking about local public transport.”
The opposition, however, stuck to their criticism: the CDU MP Michael Donth spoke of an “expensive experiment”. He called for an “obligation to make additional contributions” to compensate for the exploding costs of bus and train companies. Wolfgang Wiehle from the AfD warned of an “unsuccessful party”, at the end of which the bankruptcy of many medium-sized companies threatened. The left voted for the 9-euro ticket, but the project doesn’t actually go far enough for their long-time party leader Bernd Riexinger: “Three months are simply not enough.”
Also reduced taxes on petrol and diesel
Due to the rise in fuel prices after the outbreak of the Ukraine war, taxes on petrol and diesel will also fall from June to August. “In this way we are reducing fuel prices to the pre-crisis level,” assured SPD MP Carlos Kasper. Till Mansmann from the FDP explained that people dependent on mobility would be relieved of more than one billion euros a month. However, the measure is controversial: Although prices at gas stations exploded after the Russian attack on Ukraine, they have since fallen noticeably again.
Nevertheless, the law passed the Bundestag without dissenting votes, the opposition factions abstained. CDU MP Johannes Steiniger said the instrument was correct, but the three-month period was too short. Even at the end of August, when the measure expires, the Ukraine crisis and the associated high petrol prices are likely to continue.
Chancellor Scholz complained about a “price increase caused by Russia”. Above all, people with small and middle incomes felt every day “that the war has not only made fuel more expensive at the pump, but also food – from bread to cooking oil”.