European Union finance ministers have warned that high oil prices could threaten economic prosperity. They also called on oil producing companies to step up investments to provide sufficient supplies.
Their statement at the end of a meeting in the English city of Manchester did not make any specific reference to the United States but ministers earlier said Washington will come under pressure to use energy more efficiently. Energy giants Total and BP have bowed to political pressure and slightly cut petrol prices at the pump in France, after the finance minister there threatened to slap a new tax on oil firms. However with the cost of filling up still riding high, some are seeking drastic solutions. German motorists are crossing the border into Poland in search of savings. “When I convert the petrol prices here, this is about 1 euro 15 a litre,” said one German man as he bought petrol at a Polish filling station. “In Berlin, I pay 1 euro 35.” A similar exercise takes German drivers across the frontier with the Czech Republic. For some it is the only answer to soaring petrol bills. “I am a commuter and have to drive 100 kilometres every day,” said a woman, filling her tank on Czech soil. “What else can I do? I am not wasting any more money in Germany?” People power action like this comes as oil companies reap the benefits of the situation – with record profits their reward.