According to a representative survey for the briq policy monitor, two-thirds of the German population would be willing to pay higher prices for gas and heating if this were to increase pressure on the Russian government. Four out of five Germans would lower their room temperature to save energy. And more than half of higher-income households would be willing to spend some of their income to help poorer households cope with higher energy prices.
Based on average fuel prices of about €2.20 per liter, two-thirds of the 2,000 respondents said they would accept higher prices to increase pressure on Russia. Around one-third would even accept a further increase of 30 cents or more. Surprisingly, the willingness to pay is largely independent of individual car use. However, there are clear differences along party lines. While 88 percent of Green Party supporters would accept higher fuel prices, this only applies to around 35 percent of AfD (right-wing party) supporters.
To reduce dependence on oil and gas imports from Russia, two-thirds of those surveyed would also accept a further increase in monthly heating costs. In numbers, around 58 percent of Germans would accept at least 10 euros in additional costs; 31 percent would be willing to pay at least an extra 20 euros per month. Germans’ willingness to pay in order to put pressure on Russia tends to increase with higher income and is more pronounced in western Germany. Household income matters less for people’s willingness to engage in energy-saving behavior. A large majority of respondents said they would be willing to lower their thermostat setting.
Moreover, half or respondents with an annual gross income of more than 50,000 euros would be prepared to contribute part of their income to support households that are more vulnerable to price increases. Almost 30 percent of high-income households would even give up more than two percent of their income to help low-earners. Commenting on the results of the survey, briq director Armin Falk notes: “Solidarity with Ukraine comes at a price – which many Germans seem willing to pay.”