Energy cost comparison at filling stations – from electricity to hydrogen to gasoline

Thirteen numbers on a yellow-orange notice will show drivers what they could have saved in the future. From October, larger filling stations will have to present their customers with a so-called energy cost comparison. On top of it: The costs for 100 kilometers with seven different energy sources – from electricity to hydrogen to premium gasoline – and for two vehicle sizes. Only for hydrogen in smaller vehicles is a value missing due to a lack of data. Why does the poster exist, what can it do – and what cannot?

It implements a European directive. The purpose is “to support future purchasing decisions of consumers when choosing a passenger vehicle”, as it says in the legal text. The idea behind it: The consumer should be able to easily compare what the energy costs him for 100 kilometers with different types of drive.

In principle, one finds this also useful at the ADAC in order to create transparency and “also to influence the purchase decision to a certain extent”. The Federal Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW) also welcomes the label: “The comparison makes it clear that electromobility is not only a climate-friendly, but also a financially attractive alternative for many motorists,” it says.

The current poster – it should be updated quarterly and can be downloaded from the Ministry of Economic Affairs – shows, for example, that a medium or upper-class car with premium gasoline costs 11.42 euros in fuel or energy costs per 100 kilometers. With Super E10 it would be 11.00 euros, with diesel 7.48, with a Stromer 4.84. Natural gas H would cost 6.39 euros, LPG with 4.96 and hydrogen with 7.60.

For each type of drive in each of the two vehicle categories, the three best-selling vehicles and their official consumption according to the current WLTP driving cycle are used. This gives you an average consumption per 100 kilometers. Together with the price for the respective energy source, this then results in costs per 100 kilometers. For the price, the ministry uses the average value for the second quarter. However, these numbers are not given on the poster.

Even if the values ​​are calculated and stated precisely to the cent, they can only be rough comparative values ​​for several reasons. For one thing, the consumer who reads the poster while refueling is likely to drive a different car with a different consumption. His driving style also makes a big difference here.

In addition, according to information from the Federal Ministry of Economics, the average prices of the second quarter are currently used for the calculation. Since then, for example, diesel has become around 9 cents per liter more expensive, according to ADAC figures.

And finally, as the name suggests, it’s just a comparison of energy costs. Other car-related costs such as acquisition, repairs, insurance and taxes are naturally left out – although they usually significantly exceed the item of energy costs.

The calculation is particularly prone to distortions in the case of electric cars, which according to the comparison are the cheapest. “There is no information that electric cars are based on the average household electricity price,” criticizes the MWV mineral oil industry association. “Public and, above all, fast charging is usually more expensive, and that significantly reduces the price difference compared to petrol.”

According to the BDEW energy industry association, a typical household electricity tariff is a little over 30 cents per kilowatt hour. At public charging stations, however, it is more like 39 to 45 cents and at fast charging stations even 49 to 79 cents. This includes costs for infrastructure, operation, maintenance, land use and payment processing, among other things. But these prices would also have to be taken into account so that the information on the poster “can be reconciled with personal experience”, demands the BDEW.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs justifies the use of the household electricity tariff with the fact that more than 80 percent of the charging processes take place at home. In the medium term, however, the costs for charging en route should also be included in the calculation.

Petrol stations with seven multiple dispensers and more have to hang it up or present it on a screen. According to an estimate by the ZTG petrol station association, this only affects around 1,500 of the 14,500 petrol stations in Germany. That is “the only good thing” about the new regulation, says ZTG managing director Jürgen Ziegner, who considers the poster to be “as superfluous as a goiter”. “It’s of little use to me if I’m on the road and have to refuel and then find out how much I would have paid for the electricity at home,” he criticizes.


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