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Annual Report of Market Transparency Unit for Fuels

Date of issue: 09.02.2017

Today the Bundeskartellamt published its third annual report on the work of the Market Transparency Unit for Fuels.

Andreas Mundt, President of Bundeskartellamt: "The price differences in the course of a day are still large. We can provide motorists with a few guidances. On average, fuel is cheapest between 6 pm and 8 pm. Try to avoid filling up at night, this is when prices are mostly at their highest. A petrol station that is cheap compared to others is likely to remain so. There are no significant differences between the individual weekdays, even at Easter and Whitsuntide fuel is not noticeably more expensive than at other times. The large price differences show that it is worth using the data collected by the Market Transparency Unit. Choosing a cheap petrol station saves the consumer money and raises the competitive pressure on the oil companies. In this way the success of the Market Transparency Unit is also up to the consumers."

The key findings from the report "Third Year of the Market Transaparency Unit for Fuels (MTU Fuels)" are:

• There are still significant price changes in the course of a day:
There can be differences of up to 30 cents/litre between the average highest and lowest fuel price within one town.
Even leaving out the most expensive 5% of petrol station prices (mostly prices charged during the night), the difference can still amount to around 20 cents/litre.
Differences of around 10 cents/litre can be seen between the average highest and lowest fuel price at one petrol station.
• On average, the cheapest time to refuel is still between 6pm and 8pm.
• During the night prices at the petrol stations open are mostly at a comparatively high level until the first price reduction in the morning.
• At many petrol stations prices do not fall gradually over the course of the day. Instead, they initially drop in the morning and often rise by a few cents around noon. Afterwards prices drop again until the evening.
• The relative price position of different petrol stations compared to each other is quite stable. "Cheap" petrol stations often remained cheap during the observation period. "Expensive" petrol stations often stayed expensive.
• The report stresses that the frequently used term "average price" is not consistently defined. How the different prices at different times of the day or at different petrol stations are weighted in calculating the average can make a substantial difference.
• In the observation period the development of fuel prices essentially followed that of the crude oil price.
• Finally fuel prices again did not increase significantly in 2016 around Easter and Whitsuntide.

In its report the Bundeskartellamt evaluated fuel prices throughout Germany (E5, E10 and diesel) for the period from 1 December 2015 to 31 May 2016. The report provides more detailed price analyses for the cities of Berlin, Dresden, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Cologne, Leipzig, Munich and Stuttgart.

The Market Transparency Unit for Fuels commenced its regular operation on 1 December 2013. It collects price data from approx.14,750 petrol stations in Germany.
The Market Transparency Unit does not itself offer price information to interested citizens but forwards information on price changes to consumer information services in a very short space of time. Motorists can call up the information from a number of information service providers, both online and via mobile apps.
The third annual report is available for download (in German) at the Bundeskartellamt's website. You will also find further Information on the Market Transparency Unit for Fuels (partly in English) and a list of the authorised consumer information services on the website.

Press release (pdf)

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