Wednesday, April 27, 2011

55 U$ per gallon?

Like we in Europe you in the States experience increasing petrol prices but have you ever heard about a gasoline price of 55 U$ per gallon? The story goes like this:

About two months ago the German Government decreed in an act of ecological force an increase of the percentage of ethanol in premium (super) gasoline from 5 to 10%. Immediately a big tug of war started between the Federal Government and those car loving Germans fearing for the well being of there Audi, BMW, and Mercedes engines. In addition some Green came up with calculations that alcohol made from corn is less ecological than burning fossil fuel and above all food prices would necessarily increase as fertile land is rather used to produce ethanol than cereals. Fact is that in Germany Super E10 (Eurosuper) presently is a dead article whereas, as far as I know, Americans don't give a hoot what they fill into their tanks as long as it keeps their robust engines running and isn't too expensive.

Note the price tags at the filling station. Diesel: 7.6 U$ per gallon,
Super E10: 8.4 U$ per gallon and Super (premium gas): 55.4 U$ per gallon.
To promote sales of the biosprit (Would this be called organic gasoline in the States?) oil companies urged the government to tax Super E10 less than the traditional Super but the Ministry of Finance turned out to be as pigheaded as the German driver. Now tanks at the filling stations are full of Super E10 whilst supplies of the classical Super are dwindling. Some pessimists even predicted a shortage of the favorite brew in spite gasoline prices always climb and as usual soared before the Easter holidays.

In fact, with the content of its reservoir approaching zero, fearing that the pumps might run dry and be damaged a filling station in Filderstadt near Stuttgart displayed a price of 9.99 Euros per liter for Super just to block drivers from filling up. However it happened that one guy refueled 3 and a girl 6 gallons winding up with bills of 100 and 200 Euros respectively. A gasoline price of 55 U$ per gallon is this worth an entry into the Guinness book?

I actually don't care. On those rare occasions when I use my car it is either to go to France or Switzerland where Super is not only readily available but even sold at a lower price than in Germany.

Note added in proof: In the meantime Exxon has re-embursed the two persons from Filderstadt.

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