Man Torches Car to Protest Gas Prices

BERLIN, Germany
– Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face…A German man who was feeling a little hot-under-the-collar doused his BMW with gasoline and torched it last in protest at skyrocketing fuel costs, police said.

    The unemployed 30-year-old man drove a black 1995 BMW 3-series sedan onto the lawn outside Frankfurt’s convention center grounds at about 7:30 a.m., police spokesman Karlheinz Wagner said.

    He then jumped out, emptied a canister of gas over the vehicle and set fire to it, Wagner said.

    By the time the fire department got to the scene, the car was entirely burned out.

    The Bavarian man, whose name was being withheld because he has not been charged with a crime, told police that gas prices were so high he could no longer afford to drive the vehicle.

    As in many countries, gasoline prices have risen steadily in Germany; a liter of regular gasoline now costs about euro 1.55, or $9.40 per gallon.

    The nationwide average price of a gallon of regular gasoline Monday was $4.09, according to AAA and Oil Price Information Service.

    That compares with $4.08 a gallon Sunday and $2.96 a gallon one year ago.

    Gas prices have risen 2.9 percent in the last month and are almost 38 percent higher than where they were a year ago.

    The survey showed that 33 states and the District of Colombia have an average gas price above $4 a gallon.

    Police were investigating whether the man could be charged with violating German environmental laws with the stunt, Wagner said. Penalties range from fines to five years in prison.