There are two interesting articles in today's business section of the German newspaper, DIE WELT. One concerns the high price of gasoline and that the antitrust division (Bundeskartellamt) is looking into collusion among the top five firms in Germany. The price of a liter of gasoline is 1.62 euros. With an exchange rate of a little more than $1.40 per euro and with 3.785 liters per gallon, it works out to $8.60 a gallon. Now, this is for premium and not regular. According to the article, this is the highest price ever in Germany.
The second article concerns a warning from electric utility firms that there may be blackouts in southern Germany this winter. The winter is prime time for electricity for a variety of reasons--short hours of daylight, cold weather, and southern Germany is highly industrialized so large demand from industry. Why this winter? After the problems with the nuclear power plant in Japan, Germany has put its older nuclear plants off line and are giving stress tests of some kind on others. The utility companies are saying that too much capacity will be off line if all this happens, and blackouts could result. An option that some think is possible is to import electricty from France, but France is a net importer in the winter.
Representatives of the Green Party dismiss the concerns. One represtative said that there are no bottlenecks and another that it is their view that there is not a problem. The article also reports that Alcoa has recently announed that they will not expand production facilities in Germany because they consider Germany's energy policy to be too risky.