Economy: Carrying Its Weight

The euro was supposed to energize the European marketplace. Has it?

People in the German border town of Passau probably don't think of themselves as champions of the euro. Yet this August they scored a victory for Europe's single currency. On a warm Friday afternoon, about 500 people drank beer, ate bratwurst and--for almost five hours--blocked a road into neighboring Austria. Their target: the high price of gasoline in Germany, which, thanks to taxes, is about 20% more expensive than in Austria. Every day an estimated 2,000 German motorists fill up at a BP station across the border in Austria--at the expense of the 17 stations in Passau.

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