Thursday , 28 September 2023
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Global Economy

For fuel across the border

If you want to fill up this morning in Volgelsheim, France near the German border, you need patience. The petrol station of a supermarket chain is full. Queues have already formed in front of the four petrol pumps. But hardly anyone is annoyed here. And that probably has something to do with fuel prices.

"It's definitely worth it"

Sabine from Germany fills up her black SUV this morning. It's worth it, she says with a smile: "It's about 20 euros less than I would pay per tank of fuel in Germany." She lives in Breisach, right on the German-French border. It is only a few minutes' drive to the gas station in Volgelsheim, which she is happy to accept. "We compared the gas prices last night," says a young mother while waiting in the car for a free gas pump. "There was a difference of 40 cents, it's definitely worth it."

A liter of premium petrol costs 1.63 euros at the French petrol station this morning. Diesel fuel is 1.79 euros. Prices that are possible thanks to the increase in the French tank discount, says Patrick Didelon from the Intermarché chain: "We are getting more state aid. Previously it was 18 cents per liter, since September 1 we have been at 30 cents including all taxes." This initially applies to September and October. After that, the French tank discount should decrease.

German operators are stuck on fuel

Twenty kilometers further east as the crow flies, in Freiburg, petrol station operator Markus Kenk is also mourning the loss of the tank discount. Today, only a few customers come to his four pumps to fill up their cars. On August 31, the last day with reduced prices, one could hardly save oneself from customers. "We were almost empty with all the fuel," says Kenk. The tanks are now full again, but there are no customers. With the end of the tank discount, prices went up by an average of 30 cents.

Customers have to pay 1.96 euros for a liter of premium petrol, 2.15 euros for diesel – significantly more than in neighboring France. Kenk thinks of his colleagues who are even closer to the German-French border. "It will probably be tight for them," he says, looking at his own empty gas station.

Only those who can't do otherwise use expensive fuel today. Just like the woman with the blue van who fills up with E10 fuel. Her tank was empty. Now it's full again, but as a reaction to the increased prices, the car "stands still as best as possible". André Guttenberger from Emmendingen, on the other hand, cannot do without a motorized vehicle. As a commuter, he is particularly affected by the high prices: "I can't switch to public transport or anything, there's nothing there." His choice these days: scooters instead of cars, which consume significantly less fuel.

High demand at border petrol stations

In Volgelheim, France, German license plates in particular can be seen on the site of the gas station this morning. Not only normal cars are filled up here, also mobile homes. In order to refill his 80 liter tank, André willingly drove the three kilometers from the border to here.

And tank tourism is becoming a revenue generator in France. "We currently need twice as much fuel," says gas station operator Didelon. "Normally we are supplied with new fuel two to three times a week, now a tank truck comes every day to meet the demand."

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