The price of fuel drives drivers across the border

Munich (dpa) – The high fuel prices mean that more and more people are driving across the border to refuel. Tank tourism has been increasing significantly recently, according to the Central Association of the Petrol Station Industry (ZTG) on Tuesday. And more and more customers are also taking on longer journeys.

The association speaks of a “petrol price paradox”, because the differences at the borders actually remain relatively similar even with higher fuel prices. The rising oil price, which is currently making refueling more expensive, is noticeable on both sides of the border, the differences are usually mainly due to taxes and duties.

Price sensitivity is increasing

The fact that more people still take the longer journeys is due to the fact that consumers are becoming more price-sensitive, according to the ZTG. This can also be observed domestically between cheap and expensive petrol stations.

But tank tourism is not always worthwhile – also because the journey across the border is becoming more expensive due to the high fuel prices. In addition, one also has to consider other costs such as wear and tear, which quickly eat up the savings at the pump. “If a lot of people complain that they cannot get by with the 30 cent mileage allowance from their employer, then they are not allowed to go abroad to refuel at the same time,” says the ZTG. “Because then it never pays off.”

There are not clear price differences at all German borders. In addition, these can vary depending on the region, petrol station and time. According to data from the traffic clubs ADAC and AvD, fuel is clearly cheaper in Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria and Luxembourg.

Tank tourism is (not) worthwhile

Florian observes in Bavaria Hördegen from ADAC Südbayern an increase in tank tourism to Austria and the Czech Republic. The topic has gained momentum again since last week. Across the border you can sometimes see queues at the gas stations, he says. However, the Austrian mineral oil industry cannot confirm any further increase in fuel tourism. However, this has long been an issue in Austria – around a quarter of the fuel used there is used abroad – but not only in Germany.

From Saxony, fuel tourism to the Czech Republic has so far been limited. Although there was more rush at gas stations near the border, there were no queues.

Tank tourism is increasing on the border with Poland. “The greater the price differences for fuel, the more the colleagues in Germany suffer,” says Hans-Joachim Rühlemann, Chairman of the Association of the Garage and Gas Station Industry North-East. At his gas station, sales have fallen by 17 percent since the beginning of the month. The motorists who always drove to Poland to refuel have now been joined by more.

In Switzerland, refueling used to be cheaper, but that has changed so that the journey there is no longer worth it. There is hardly any fuel tourism at the French border either – the price differences are rather small here.

In contrast, fuel is significantly more expensive in the Netherlands than in Germany. The ZTG does not observe any increase in fuel tourism from there, but many Dutch people like to make a detour to refuel in Germany. Many Dutch people from neighboring Coevorden come to the gas stations right on the border, for example in Laar in Lower Saxony. In some places the cars with the yellow license plates are even lining up. “The gasoline costs are far too high in the Netherlands,” said a man in Gronau, the TV broadcaster RTVoost. “We have to pay so many taxes extra.”

In Denmark, fuel is also more expensive than in Germany, but the differences have shrunk. Here, shopping tourism is more attractive, because a lot is cheaper in Germany – and when you are already there you will often refuel, even if it is more of a take-away effect.

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