Oil companies make billion-euro gains from high fuel prices amid war, says Greenpeace
Clean Energy Wire
European oil companies have earned some three billion euros in additional revenues since the beginning of the Ukraine war thanks to the high prices for diesel and petrol, Greenpeace says based on calculations by consultancy EnergyComment. Having looked at the price developments in ten European countries, including Germany, France and Italy, the analysts find that the massive price increase at petrol stations can only partly be explained by higher purchase prices on crude oil markets and are largely caused by the oil companies’ higher profit margins. For Germany, this results in additional oil industry revenues of 1.2 billion euros for the month of March alone. While the price of crude oil rose by around 19 cents per litre between the beginning of the year and March, one litre of diesel costs around 30 cents more on average. The trend for petrol was similar, but the margin was somewhat smaller. Based on the additional revenue and assuming unchanged costs, the analysts derive an additional profit for the industry, Greenpeace writes.
Germany’s government coalition has adopted a wide-ranging relief package to help shield citizens from rising energy costs exacerbated by Russia’s war against Ukraine. At the end of March, it decided to lower energy taxes on fuels to the European minimum for three months, thereby reducing the costs for petrol by 30 cents per litre and diesel by 14 cents per litre. Environmental groups have criticised this approach, arguing that such a move would distort incentives for saving fuel and disproportionately benefit high-income groups. Speed limits and a redistribution of support money through other measures would have been a more adequate solution for helping struggling consumers while reducing consumption.