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This is how fuel prices change at the beginning of the year

If you are planning a car trip over Christmas, it is better not to wait until the holidays to refuel.

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This is how fuel prices change at the beginning of the year

If you are planning a car trip over Christmas, it is better not to wait until the holidays to refuel. Because after weeks of falling, gas station prices are just beginning to pick up again slightly.

This is how the automobile club ADAC reports on this trend in its current weekly comparison: According to this, a liter of premium E10 petrol currently costs 1.66 euros on a daily average nationwide. That was almost a cent more than a week earlier.

In the case of diesel, the increase of three cents to now 1.80 euros per liter is even more pronounced. Before that, the price trend for petrol had gone down for five weeks and for diesel even eight weeks.

The experts at ADAC assess the situation differently, depending on which fuel is affected. “We have been experiencing a normalization of prices for petrol for weeks,” says ADAC expert Andreas Hölzel.

However, this process is “not yet complete”. This means that the development of the crude oil price also affects the petrol product and thus the gas station prices.

Around 83 dollars (78 euros) are currently being paid for a barrel of crude oil. In November, the 100 dollar mark was reached. Currently, petrol in Germany is almost as much – or as little – as it was on the cheapest day of 2022 so far: On January 7th, the price for premium petrol E5 was 1.64 euros per liter.

The situation with diesel is assessed differently. In Germany, diesel fuel is taxed at around 20 cents less than petrol and was therefore the significantly cheaper option at petrol stations for many years.

The increased demand, for example from truck traffic and freight forwarders, as well as the need for heating oil, has reversed this price relationship. In addition, due to the shortage of gas, diesel is increasingly being used again to generate electricity.

Despite the tax advantage, the price of diesel is still around ten cents higher than the price of petrol. "We are still miles away from normalizing diesel prices," says the ADAC expert. For comparison: on January 4, the cheapest day of the year so far, diesel cost 1.56 euros per liter.

For the beginning of 2023, the ADAC expects “no dramatic changes” in the price situation at the petrol stations. A fall in the price of diesel is expected in the course of the spring, as soon as the winter season with demand for heating oil comes to an end.

On the other hand, anyone who lives in the border regions in western or eastern Germany and occasionally fills up in neighboring countries can expect changed petrol station prices. The Luxembourg energy ministry has just announced new maximum prices for gas stations – the government sets upper limits in the country.

Diesel now costs 1.60 euros per liter in the neighboring country, which is four cents less than before. The price for premium grade 95 petrol remains unchanged at EUR 1.45 per liter for the time being. The price level in the neighboring countries often influences the petrol station tariffs in the neighboring regions.

The situation is different in the east of the country, because in neighboring Poland, refueling will be significantly more expensive for the New Year. On January 1, 2023, the Polish government will raise VAT on fuel again to 23 percent, according to the country's tax portal.

This means that the current, reduced VAT rate of eight percent beyond the state border only applies until the end of the year. The increase in VAT rates is likely to increase gas station prices by 20 to 25 cents. Fuel prices in Poland are currently between 25 and 35 cents cheaper than in Germany.

The neighboring country had decided and implemented a tax cut last summer because of the sharp rise in petrol and diesel prices. Now it expires.

The reason for this is the tax rules of the European Union. Such reduced tax rates contradict an EU directive on the VAT system. The directive is intended to ensure fair competition in the EU internal market.

Yet another circumstance is likely to cause regionally different petrol station prices in the coming months. From next spring, the refinery in Schwedt in Brandenburg will have to work without oil supplies from Russia and switch to other suppliers.

The supply of gas stations in the region is considered to be secure. But the logistics are likely to become more expensive when petrol and diesel are delivered from other parts of the country. This in turn should also affect the prices at the stations.

In general, the following applies when filling up in Germany: Drivers should ideally go to the gas station in the evening between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. or again between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Compared to the morning hours, they can save up to twelve cents per liter. This applies to both engines, both the diesel drive and the petrol engine.

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