What is “fuel tourism” and why is it becoming a travel trend?

One of the side effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is rising fuel prices, which have skyrocketed in recent months. Some countries have taken measures to cap prices and those who live near a border are taking advantage of this. People have started going to certain places just to fill up cheaply.

1. Fuel Tourism Destinations

For Swiss residents, it is very easy to travel to neighboring countries and while they usually do so for pleasure, they now have a more practical reason to travel. More and more Genevans are crossing the border into France to refuel, euronews reports.

In Geneva, the price of a liter of petrol is around 2.2 Swiss francs (€2.30), while the price is only €1.80 in French Haute-Savoie. The best fuel prices and the favorable franc to euro exchange rate are worth the trip.

France is not the only destination for fuel tourism. Luxembourg has “reputedly cheap fuel”, according to euronews, and its central European location encourages travelers to plan a stopover in the small country to refuel.

This is due to the location, which is perfect in the center of Europe, and the favorable fuel prices also make the difference.

Daniel Calderon, manager of the Shell service station in Berchem, told AFP

Luxembourg is also home to the largest gas station in the world, the Shell station in Berchem, located on the A3 motorway in the southern part of the country. The petrol station manager says its location and lower prices have made it even busier this summer than usual, with holidaymakers and truckers stopping to refuel, as well as tourists at the pump coming especially for this purpose.

Shell station in Berchem, Luxembourg © Shell

2. Disgruntled French politicians

A few French politicians have expressed annoyance at the influx of Swiss taking advantage of France’s 18 cents a liter fuel rebate, arguing that the benefit is ultimately funded by French taxpayers. “We absolutely have to give priority to the French. We should not help the rich, the Swiss and foreign tourists. It’s as simple as that, ”said Loïc Hervé, senator from Haute-Savoie, at the Tribune de Genève.

On the other hand, Geneva State Councilor Mauro Poggia pointed out that the French also take advantage of the proximity to the border in other situations, such as working for Swiss companies for higher wages and better benefits. He also recalled that before the outbreak of the war, unleaded gasoline was cheaper in Switzerland than in France and that “the French also fill up in Geneva before returning home, and that didn’t disturbed anyone”. The situation reversed after the start of the war because the Swiss government decided not to give fuel discounts.

About Jonathan J. Kramer

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