The tank discount is apparently hardly effective, and fuel prices are still high. Economics Minister Robert Habeck is drafting a scenario with which the state could get at the oil multinationals.

Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck has publicly considered how the crisis surrounding the high fuel prices could be solved. This resulted in plans for state pressure on the economy.

According to a media report, Habeck wants to react to the high fuel prices despite the tank discount by tightening antitrust laws. As the “Spiegel” reported on Sunday, according to these plans, the state should be able to siphon off the profits of mineral oil companies without proof of market abuse and, if necessary, break up the companies. The Green politician accuses the oil companies of not passing on the tax deduction on petrol and diesel from the federal government’s relief package to consumers.

“The first records of the Federal Cartel Office on the tank discount show that the gap between crude oil and gas station prices has risen sharply since the beginning of the month,” Habeck told the “Spiegel”. Apparently, “what many experts had warned about has happened: the mineral oil companies are reaping the profits, and consumers are not noticing the tax cut.”

Robert Habeck is considering tightening antitrust law

According to the magazine, as a reaction, Habeck is planning a significant tightening of antitrust law, which would enable the competition authorities to intervene structurally in markets – without having to prove a violation of competition law.

A position paper from the Ministry of Economics, from which the “Spiegel” quotes, says: “There is a parallel behavior in the prices in the market.” This means that the companies know the prices of their competitors at the petrol stations because the market is very transparent. “This means that even without an anti-trust agreement, the prices are very quickly adjusted to one another; abuse of competition law is difficult to prove.”

The change in antitrust law is intended to create an opportunity to unbundle the mineral oil and gas station market, among other things. In a further step, the Federal Cartel Office should be able to skim off the profits more quickly.

The tank discount enforced by the FDP came into force on June 1 as part of the federal government’s relief package. It is a three-month reduction in the energy tax on fuels. For petrol, the tax rates drop by 29.55 cents per liter and for diesel by 14.04 cents, plus there is a lower value added tax on the total price.

After a noticeable drop immediately after the tank discount came into effect, prices at the gas stations had recently risen again every day, according to the ADAC. Representatives of the CDU and FDP recently asked Habeck to take action against the oil companies in view of the continued high fuel prices.