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Where German drivers are going to find cheaper fuel prices

Rising petrol and diesel costs are leading some drivers in Germany across the country - and even into neighbouring countries - to search for lower prices.

A driver fills up a car at a petrol station in Munich.
A driver fills up a car at a petrol station in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

High fuel prices in Germany are resulting in more people driving across the border to fill up their tanks, the Central Association of the Petrol Station Industry (Zentralverband des Tankstellengewerbes), ZTG, said on Tuesday. 

As of Sunday, drivers of diesel cars and vans in Germany have been asked shell out an average of €1.555 per litre to refill their vehicles. The previous record price, set on August 26th, was €1.554 per litre.

Regular petrol prices are also going up, with prices per litre hitting €1.667 per litre on Sunday – 4.2 cents short of its previous record price of €1.709. 

The ZTG said that due to the spike, so-called ‘petrol tourism’ is on the rise again as drivers are desperate to save some cash. 

READ ALSO: Could Germany cut more taxes to stem fuel prices?

The association calls this a “petrol price paradox”, because the rising price of oil, which is making filling up tanks more expensive, is noticeable on both sides of the border. However, there may be differences due to taxes and duties.

People are also travelling to different parts of Germany to try and find cheaper fuel. 

The willingness to take detours or drive for a few euros in savings has increased, said Florian Hördegen from ADAC Südbayern. Since last week, the topic has gained momentum. It means queues at petrol stations – in Germany and beyond – are becoming more common.

Where are fuel prices cheaper – and more expensive?

For those looking for reasonable fuel prices in their area in Germany, this handy search tool helps you find gas stations and view the prices. 

The app Clever Taken also has a “Magic Map” that tells you where to find the petrol station with the best price. Users can also activate push notifications in the fuel app that alert you as soon as a petrol station in your vicinity offers fuel at the low price you set.

The ADAC Spritpreise app also allows people to compare prices between petrol stations in Germany and select the cheapest providers. 

In Austria and the Czech Republic, taxes on fuel are much lower. Depending on the petrol station, region and time of day, the difference can be around 20 to 30 cents.

READ ALSO: Drivers in Germany face record fuel costs

On average, diesel costs €1.23 per litre in the Czech Republic, Super petrol costs €1.32. The savings could be 33 cents for a litre of diesel and an impressive 34 cents for a litre of Super, according to German news site Focus Online. Filling up with 60 litres could result of a price difference of around €20.

In Austria, a litre of diesel costs an average of €1.34 per litre. Super is available for €1.33 and Super Plus for €1.61. The savings are 21 cents for diesel, 34 cents for Super and an impressive 33 cents for Super Plus. If you fill up with the most expensive type of fuel, drivers could save about €15 on 45 litres.

Poland is also an option. On Tuesday, a litre of diesel cost an average of €1.32 in Poland and €1.28 for super. A full tank of 60 litres of diesel would cost an average of €73.20 in Poland and €93 in Germany. That’s a saving of about €20 per fill-up.

In contrast, petrol is more expensive in the Netherlands than in Germany. However, according to ZTG, there is currently no sign of increasing fuel tourism from there.

A trip across the border is not always worthwhile, experts say. Drivers have to think about the costs depending on the car and the distance, said ADAC fuel price expert Jürgen Albrecht.

“Driving across the border just to refuel is particularly worthwhile if the price differences are high and the distances are very short,” said Albrecht.

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MONEY

REVEALED: The everyday products getting less expensive in Germany

Inflation rates are soaring in Germany - but the jump in prices hasn't affected all consumer goods. Here are a few of the thing that have actually become cheaper in recent months.

REVEALED: The everyday products getting less expensive in Germany

The cost of living is rising at an alarming pace. In April, the inflation rate in Germany hit a stunning 7.4 percent – the highest it’s been in more than 40 years.

In real terms, that means that many people will be getting poorer year by year, unless they’re lucky enough to have got a stellar pay rise at work. 

When you dig down into the nitty gritty of the price rises though, the cost hikes are quite unevenly spread across different goods and services. 

The Local has reported regularly on the dizzying rise in the cost of fuel and energy, as well as the food items – like milk and fresh meat – that are getting more expensive by the week.

READ ALSO: What to know about the latest price hikes in German supermarkets

In April, energy prices rose by 35.3 percent, while prices for heating oil almost doubled. Consumers also had to pay significantly more for fuel (38.5 per cent) and natural gas (47.5 per cent).

Meanwhile, the weekly grocery shop has also gone up in price, with food costs on average 8.6 percent more expensive than in April last year. Edible fats and oils (27.3 percent) and meat products (11.8 percent) were the items that went up most steeply. 

But not everything is going up in price so dramatically, and some everyday items have even got cheaper over the past few years.

Here’s what consumers in Germany are saving money on today compared to last year.

Digital services and software

Some of the biggest drops in prices over the past year have been in the online and digital sectors, which is great news for anyone looking to pick up a new entertainment system or a new Wifi contract for their home. 

According to the Federal Office of Statistics (Destasis), computer operating systems and other types of software saw the biggest drop in price between April 2021 and April 2022. In fact, people purchasing a software subscription or operating system this spring are likely to have paid around 14.3 percent less than customers who purchased the same software last year.

Destatis also noted that Wifi and internet services have become cheaper in recent months. Since April 2021, the cost of “wireless telecommunications services” (otherwise known as Wifi) has decreased by 2.4 percent, while “access to online services has internet” is 0.8 percent cheaper.

Anyone’s who’s been saving up for a new TV, DVD players or satellite dish will also be pleased to discover that these products currently cost around one percent less than they did in April last year. 

Other electronic devices such as headphones, headsets, e-book readers and digital picture frames fell in price by 1.3 percent between March 2021 and March 2022. Renting videos or DVDs became 0.8 per cent cheaper over the same period.

READ ALSO: 

Wine and sweet treats

While it’s true that most of the weekly grocery shop has gone up in price, some surprising items are actually cheaper now than they were a year ago.

In fact, you can get a romantic dinner for two today for less than you could a year ago, since a plate of seafood is 1.6 percent cheaper and a bottle of wine is 0.8 percent cheaper. Home bakers can also enjoy things like puff pastry and baking mixes for less.

People with a sweet tooth seem to be the biggest winners this year: they can now enjoy a bar of chocolate for less, since the price of chocolate has dipped by three percent since last April, and also make savings of 2.3 percent on any artificial sweeteners they buy. 

Milk and white chocolate bars on display in Berlin.

Milk and white chocolate bars on display in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Monika Skolimowska

The other treat that is getting cheaper is ice cream. Just in time for summer, the cost of your ice-cream sundae or Eiskugel in Waffel (ice cream in a cone) has dropped by one percent. 

OK, it may only be a few cents lower, but we still think it’s a good reason not to feel guilty about treating to yourself to an ice cream on a sunny day. 

READ ALSO: German consumers to be hit by further price hikes in supermarkets

Household appliances

Though many household expenses have gone up this year, a few common household goods are currently bucking the trend. 

For soup and smoothie addicts, a staple appliance has decreased in price over the past twelve months. In fact, buying an electric mixer, food processor or blender will set you back 2.8 percent less this year than in April 2021.

Prices for electric irons (-0.5 percent), hoovers (-0.8 percent) and “other large household appliances” (-1.2 percent), which includes water softeners, sewing machines and safes, have also gone down.

READ ALSO: The products getting more expensive and harder to find in Germany

Home and contents insurance

At a time when people have been spending more time at home due to Covid-19, the cost of home-related insurance has gone down.

According to Destasis, the price of “insurance services connected with the dwelling”, which means home and contents insurance, has gone down by around 1.8 percent year on year. 

Glasses and contact lenses

Glasses and contact lenses can be a big expense for anyone who needs them, so people with less-than-perfect eyesight will be pleased to know that the price of both of these has gone down slightly in the past year.

As of April 2022, the price of glasses and contact lenses has gone down by around 1.8 percent on average. 

Designers sunglasses at an auction house in Cologne

Designers sunglasses at an auction house in Cologne. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Oliver Berg

Clothes and shoes have also been trending downwards over the course of this year: back in February, women’s clothes were around 3.3 percent cheaper than they were in February 2021, while men’s clothes had dropped 0.7 percent in price.

Meanwhile, shoes would have set you back around 0.7 percent less on average, with women’s shoes once again showing the steepest decrease at minus 2.9 percent.

Children were the only demographic to buck this trend. In fact, children’s clothes had gone up in price by 1.6 percent in February and children’s shoes were up by 1.4 percent. 

READ ALSO: OPINION: Why Germany’s energy relief payouts are no fix for inadequate social security

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