Salzburg petrol stations charge more than German rivals

Car fuel is more expensive at Austrian motorway petrol stations than at those just over the German border, a motorists’ association has said.Arbö announced today (Weds) that diesel petrol cost 7.5 Eurocents more at stations on motorways in the Austrian province of Salzburg than at petrol stations a few hundred metres over the border in Bavaria.The car club stressed that this was a price gap of around four Euros if motorists fill up a whole tank.Motorist associations have criticised the petrol price levels in Austria for years – while organisations like the Austrian Traffic Club (VCÖ) pointed out that fuel was cheap in Austria in comparison to other European countries. This claim still correct according to recent surveys which check price levels at petrol stations which are not located on motorways but on main roads and in towns and cities in Austria, Germany and other countries.Motorist representatives across Europe have hit out at mineral oil firms for charging higher prices at motorway petrol stations. Arbö said today that one litre of petrol cost up to 15 Eurocents more at motorway petrol stations compared to those located elsewhere.Thousands of drivers from Germany, the Czech Republic and other countries have been crossing the border year after year just to fuel their cars in Austria due to the significant differences in prices. The Republic of Austria has been benefiting immensely from this so-called fuel tourism due to Austria’s high taxation rate on car petrol.One litre of diesel petrol costs 1.25 Euros on average in Austria today, according to car club ÖAMTC. Its fuel price check also shows that the price in Germany is around 1.33 Euros and 1.39 Euros in Italy. One litre of diesel also costs more in Slovakia (1.36 Euros) and in the Czech Republic (1.33 Euros) than in Austria. Both countries border Austria. Regular car petrol is currently more expensive in these countries than in Austria as well, ÖAMTC announced.The high tax on mineral oil products has angered Austrian drivers for years. Arbö said earlier this year that the country has one of the highest petrol taxation rates in Europe as 57 per cent of the price for one litre of normal car fuel and 52 per cent of what drivers have to spend on a litre of diesel are pocketed by the finance ministry. The association said the European Union (EU) average was 55 per cent of the price of regular car fuel and just 49 per cent for diesel petrol.The Austrian government coalition of Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) nevertheless decided to slightly raise the tax on car fuel as of 1 January 2011. The coalition hopes that this decision will help its attempts to lower the growing state debt and budget deficit.Austrian petrol companies came under fire last year when the Federal Competition Authority (BWB) revealed that they generally do not consider global price levels when it comes to establishing the prices of diesel and regular fuel at their stations.BWB dismissed companies’ claims that international trade developments were behind soaring prices.”We have got evidence that Austrian (car fuel) price developments developed more and more independently from what was happening on the Rotterdam products exchange,” the organisation said.BWB also said: “By claiming they are also reacting to supply and demand, the petrol companies openly admitted to having higher prices in areas lacking competition like in the countryside.”The institution pledged it will continue to observe the oil firms’ actions closely.The Federal Mineral Oil Association FVMI announced yesterday that Austrian petrol stations and industrial petrol providers sold 7.3 billion litres of diesel petrol in 2010, 3.7 per cent more than the year before. The amount of regular car fuel sales edged down by 1.7 per cent to 2.4 billion litres.Traffic experts meanwhile said it was unlikely that soaring fuel prices will mean more Austrians switch to electric cars, natural gas-powered vehicles, public transport or bicycles.Insurer Generali Austria found in a poll of its clients that only 10 per cent could imagine living without a car, while new figures show that – with 328,563 – more cars than ever were registered in Austria in 2010.