Despite a long public debate about environmental pollution caused by diesel-engined vehicles, German households and businesses have bought a record amount of diesel this year. Continued tax breaks played a major role.
Private car owners and businesses across Europe's powerhouse consumed a record amount of diesel in 2017, preliminary figures from the German oil economy association MWV revealed Monday.
The report said Germans bought 2.0 percent more diesel throughout 2017 year on year, with total consumption reaching 38.7 million tons.
The association noted the rise in consumption was attributable to a booming domestic economy and rising road transport levels. It added that despite a protracted public debate about the negative impact of diesel on the environment, private care owners also consumed a lot more diesel than last year.
Don't blame the consumers!
Diesel-powered vehicles tend to produce less carbon emissions than gasoline-driven cars — one of the reasons why the German government slaps an excise tax of only €0.47 ($0.55) on diesel, while for gasoline it's about €0.66 per liter.
So, while the annual tax on a diesel car is higher because of its particulates emissions and other negative factors, this in the process is more than offset by the lower cost of diesel fuel at the pumps.
Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller recently called on the government to gradually do away with the current tax breaks on diesel fuel and use the money to promote cleaner-energy cars such as all-electric vehicles or hybrids.
hg/jd (AFP, dpa)