What’s new in Germany in 2013?

2013 Dice - ©iStockphoto.com/alexsl The New Year in Germany usually brings with it some new regulation or law, or simply a rise in prices.  2013 sees a whole range of things changing, but many of them will only affect a small percentage of the population.

The following 4, however, are likely to affect most people.

1. The price of stamps

The cost of sending a normal letter (up to 20g and 23.5 x 12.5 x 0.5cm) within Germany went up from 55 cents to 58 cents.  The cost of sending the same letter abroad stayed at 75 cents, and the prices for postcards stayed the same as well.  Larger items up to 1kg and 35.3 x 25 x 5cm now cost €2.40 to send within Germany instead of €2.20. [Read more…]


“Teuro” was selected by the Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache as the “Wort des Jahres” (Word of the Year) in 2002.

Teuro is a so-called “Portmanteau” and is made up of the words “teuer” (expensive) and “Euro”.

It refers to the feeling that people have in Germany that things became more expensive after the Euro was introduced at the beginning of 2002.

Part of the problem is caused by people dividing by 2, whereas the exact exchange rate was 1.95583.  But in many areas – eating out being one of the most common examples – the prices were noticed to have gone up considerably.  It is often commented, that the prices were almost the same figures in Euro as in DM – just with a different currency sign.

Another factor is that price rises since 2002 go much faster, as increasing a price by 1EUR is a lot more than increasing by 1DM.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

(Press the “play” button to listen to the podcast)

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E85 and Diesel

I came across an article in the USA Today archive recently.  It compares the prices of bio-ethanol to normal petrol and in particular to diesel.

I had originally planned to buy a diesel car before I found out about bio-ethanol.  I wanted the cheaper fuel and the ability to drive further on one tank of it.

But in Germany, diesel cars are taxed more.  So unless you manage a certain amount of kilometers each year, the saving on the fuel is cancelled out by the higher tax.

These days, diesel drivers are unhappy that the price of their fuel has almost matched that of normal petrol, making it bizarrely more expensive to drive a diesel car than a petrol one.  The only benefit is the distance that you can get without having to fill up again.

Since I tend not to drive long distances with my bio-ethanol car, it looks like I took the right decision after all.

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