Germany upper house urges tough bill to control pump prices

15 June 2012 18:50  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Germany’s upper house wants the government to toughen proposed legislation on pump prices, it said on Friday.

The Bundesrat, which represents Germany’s states, said proposed legislation for a watchdog agency to improve transparency on downstream retail gasoline and diesel markets was falling short.

The legislation needed to include provisions to ensure that oil firms and retailers not only report diesel and gasoline prices to the watchdog regularly, but that those prices, after being published the next day on the Internet, cannot be changed for 24 hours, the Bundesrat said.

However, German refiners’ industry trade group said the Bundesrat was “selling voters false promises”.

Politicians were creating the impression that Germany could de-couple from trends on world oil markets, said Klaus Picard, general manager of trade group MWV.

“Those who create the impression that government price control systems can stop the upward price trends [on oil markets] are not telling citizens the truth,” Picard said.

Rather, politicians should admit that rising global oil prices are the cause for increased gasoline and diesel prices in Germany, he said.

If the government insists on implementing price controls but prices continue to rise, drivers would be angry with both politicians and the oil industry, Picard said.

“To be frank, such a sharing of the blame for high pump prices would help oil firms, but I doubt if politicians really want to be held accountable for rising gasoline prices,” he added.

The government proposed the legislation last month amid complaints from drivers about rising prices and unpredictable pricing policies on Germany’s retail petrol markets, where prices at the pump are often raised several times a day.

Under the legislation, the operators of Germany’s 14,700 petrol stations will have to report prices and volumes of their fuel sales to the agency. They also have to report where they buy the fuels, what volumes they buy, and at what prices.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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