These are turbulent times. This can also be seen in the oil price and indirectly in the petrol pump. Consumers are currently experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions there. The oil price, an important factor influencing fuel costs, has risen sharply since the beginning of the year. At the end of November, he then gave in surprisingly. On Friday of this week, a barrel of North Sea Brent cost a little more than $ 71, making it cheaper than it has been since August. And it could go further downhill for now.
There are several reasons for the recent price decline: Because oil has become so expensive in recent months, the US government decided in November to tap its strategic oil reserves in order to relieve the citizens financially. Some other countries want to go along. “Then there was the new variant of the coronavirus,” says Carsten Fritsch, Commerzbank’s raw materials analyst. Omikron stirs up fear of new lockdowns. They would put a strain on the economy and ensure that less oil is required at times.
The interplay of depleted reserves and concerns about new corona restrictions means that the relationship between supply and demand is shifting. In the first quarter of 2022, significantly more oil is likely to come onto the market than expected – and because of Omikron, demand could be significantly lower. The US government’s decision alone is expected to increase the oil oversupply by 700,000 barrels a day, says Fritsch.
Despite the new location, Opec + wants to increase the delivery rate by 400,000 barrels per day in January. That should continue to depress prices. The organization of crude oil exporting countries is called OPEC + expanded to include oil countries not represented in OPEC such as Russia, Kazakhstan, Mexico and Oman. The decision of the oil alliance is surprising, comments Fritsch. After all, she left a back door open and could quickly reverse her decision.
Drivers can only hope that the Opec + will stay on course. In the past month, fuel prices had reached a record high: both gasoline and diesel were more expensive than ever in November 2021. Now the lower oil price has at least eased the situation at the petrol pumps a little. Diesel, for example, cost an average of 1.52 euros per liter at the end of this week. That was six cents less than in mid-November. Compared to the start of the year, however, the price remains at a high level. In January 2021, a liter of diesel cost 1.23 euros on a nationwide average. The rise in fuel prices is also having an impact on general inflation, even if fuel prices themselves only account for around 3.5 percent of the consumer price basket of the Federal Statistical Office.
The relaxation at the gas station is unlikely to last. In the medium term, refueling will probably become even more expensive. First, the oil price is likely to continue its record hunt in the coming year when concerns about the Omikron variant settle. Second, the price of crude oil is not the only factor influencing how much money drivers have to pay for refueling.
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The fuel price is made up of several components. The biggest of these are taxes. For gasoline, the energy tax rate is 65.45 cents per liter, according to the ADAC. E10 premium gasoline recently cost 1.61 euros per liter. On top of that there are VAT and CO2 levy. In total, drivers pay around 60 percent of the fuel bill to the state. Starting next year, the CO2 tax will rise from 25 to 30 euros per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted. That too will make fuel more expensive.