“The pain threshold at the pump hasn’t been reached yet.”
Newspaper columnists castigate politicians for clamoring after a reduction in the gasoline tax as being nothing but populism. Only when drivers park their cars will the time be ripe for the scenario of the future.
“Only when we reach the point there is a noticeable reduction in demand for gas, i.e., when more and more citizens leave their cars parked and switch over to the bicycle, bus, or train, will we see any slowdown in rising prices at the pump. In this regard, we obviously haven’t yet reached that threshold of pain.
“Whoever wants to be loved by the voters complains about high gas prices and promises a simple solution for solving the problem. Especially popular currently is a version that holds that the government could simply do without a portion of the gasoline tax. But that’s stupid. The state would just have to get those funds elsewhere. What went into one pocket would just be taken out of another.”
1.34 Euros for a liter of Super (trans. note: $7.82 per gallon at today’s exchange rate) . . . those were the days! These days, the average price across Germany is around 1.48 Euros ($8.66 per gallon).
“Since politicians of all parties seem to be campaigning for the same thing, a noticeable solitary dissent might stand out. But gasoline prices breaking records daily has the effect of making political parties close ranks as if there were a state of emergency. The populist outcries for tax relief, for the reinstatement of a full tax deduction for commuters, or even the call for a cap on gas prices all lose sight of one irreversible fact: oil supplies are running short and the sharp price increases illustrate their finiteness. Politicians shouldn’t pull the public’s leg by hinting that a turn of the tax screw is enough to make gasoline affordable again.”
The pressure on Chancellor Merkel to lower gasoline taxes is the wrong signal. Heiko Maas (trans. note: Saarland’s socialist member of parliament in Berlin) certainly has only his own re-election in mind in the coming parliamentary elections when he suggests that the energy and tax policies of tiny neighboring Luxembourg could serve as an example for Germany. With tax relief for commuters, the German government has a good instrument to keep automobile drivers happy.
“Neue Presse” (Hannover):
Down with gasoline taxes sounds good, especially since two-thirds of the price is tax. But it’s neither ecologically nor economically prudent to make gasoline considerably cheaper again. Oil supplies are finite and will more likely get more and more expensive. We should redirect gasoline taxes, not lower them.