Petrol tourists from Germany blamed for fuel shortages in France

Petrol tourists from Germany blamed for fuel shortages in France

As fuel prices rise in Germany following the end of the tax cut on petrol and diesel in September, more and more drivers are popping over the border to fuel up in France, where petrol prices are up to 50 cents cheaper per litre. According to a report in the Basler Zeitung, this “petrol tourism” is seeing fuel stations in the border regions of France running dry. 

French border towns see influx of fuel tourists from Germany and Switzerland

Just as Germany’s tax cut on fuel came to an end in September, the French government raised the exemption on taxes for fuel from 18 to 30 cents per litre, meaning that on September 5, according to Germany’s Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), people in France were paying an average of 1,62 euros for a litre of petrol and 1,78 euros for a litre of diesel - almost 50 cents less than in Germany. 

Many drivers in Germany are therefore making the journey over to France to stock up on cheap fuel, in such great numbers that petrol stations are struggling to keep up with demand. Basler Zeitung reports that the French border town of Saint-Louis - which is only 15 minutes away from Basel in Switzerland and Weil am Rhein in Germany - petrol stations are running out of fuel. Other regions are also starting to see their supplies dwindle. 

A petrol station employee in Saint-Louis told the Swiss newspaper that the majority of their customers were “fuel tourists” from Germany and Switzerland, who are coming to take advantage of the cheap prices, and coming from as far away as places like St. Gallen and beyond. The fuel shortages are expected to last until the end of October, when the tax exemption is due to be withdrawn. 

Germany has some of highest petrol and diesel prices in Europe

It’s unlikely that German drivers will stop making the journey anytime before then: according to a new analysis published by Destatis on Monday, people in Germany are currently once again paying some of the highest prices for petrol and diesel in Europe

Using data from the European Commission, Destatis compared Germany’s average of 2,07 euros for a litre of petrol and 2,16 euros for a litre of diesel and concluded that this was higher than in any of the federal republic’s neighbouring countries. Only in Denmark (2,04 euros) and the Netherlands (2,01 euros) was the price of petrol anywhere near as high. 

Of Germany’s neighbouring countries, Poland currently has the cheapest prices (1,38 euros for petrol and 1,61 euros for diesel), followed by Luxembourg, Czechia and - of course - France. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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