sTraveling through Germany will be cheaper in the summer: two decisions by the Bundestag as of late Thursday night make not only refueling and therefore driving cheaper for three months, but bus and train trips as well. The Federal Council also voted in favor of the 9-euro card and its financing on Friday. Federal Chancellor Olaf Schultz (SPD) said the measures would benefit citizens – “directly, quickly and purposefully”.
According to plans by SPD, Greens and FDP, there will be monthly tickets for €9 in June, July and August, when people can use all buses and trains on local and regional transport throughout Germany. The loss of income is compensated by the federal government – this is provided for by law passed by the Bundestag. The planned €2.5 billion subsidy was not enough for some countries, which led to a dispute. The €9 ticket is the biggest discount ever on local public transport.
During the same three-month period, the Bundestag decided to reduce the energy tax on motor fuels to the minimum permitted in the European Union. In the case of gasoline, the tax burden is temporarily reduced by 29.55 cents a liter – including value-added tax by approximately 35.2 cents. For diesel, there’s minus 14 cents a liter or 16.7 cents with VAT.
“Reducing fuel prices to pre-crisis levels”
With these measures, the alliance is reacting to the sharp rise in energy prices in recent months. In addition, a €9 ticket is a “great opportunity” for climate-friendly mobility, as Federal Transport Minister Volker Wessing (FDP) explained in the final public debate. From his point of view, the project has already been a success: “All of Germany talks about local public transport.”
On the other hand, the opposition stuck to its criticism: CDU MP Michael Dunth spoke about your “experience”. He called for an “additional payment commitment” to offset the huge rise in costs for bus and train companies. AfD’s Wolfgang Weil warned of an “unsuccessful party” that could eventually bankrupt many small and medium-sized businesses. The left voted for the €9 ticket, but the project did not go far enough for long-time party leader Bernd Rexinger: “Three months is not enough”.
Due to the rise in fuel prices after the outbreak of the Ukraine war, taxes on gasoline and diesel will also decrease from June to August. “In this way, we are reducing fuel prices to the pre-crisis level,” said Social Democrat MP Carlos Casper. Til Mannesmann of the Free Democratic Party explained that people who depend on mobility will be exempted from more than 1 billion euros per month. However, the measure is controversial: although prices at gas stations exploded after the Russian attack on Ukraine, they have since fallen significantly again.
However, the law passed the Bundestag without dissenting votes, and opposition factions abstained. The tool was correct, but the three-month period was too short, said Johannes Steinger, a member of parliament for the Christian Democratic Union. Even at the end of August, when the measure expires, the Ukrainian crisis and the associated rise in gasoline prices will likely continue.
Chancellor Schultz complained about the “price increase caused by Russia”. Above all, people on low and middle incomes felt every day that “not only the fuel at the pump became more expensive as a result of the war, but also food – from bread to cooking oil.”