Record low fuel prices – and more fuel efficient vehicles – erode ‘fuel tourism’ in Luxembourg, but the savings are still substantial.
Also, DFDS badly-needed ships start on the Channel soon. And, new for February: road tolls increase in France; 2015 Swiss, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian and Austrian annual vignettes invalid as of yesterday (also new electronic vignette Slovakia); and, new Low Emission Zone for Aachen.
FUEL TOURISM FALLING IN LUXEMBOURG
Sales down but savings still substantial.
Luxembourg has some fine landscapes, notably the Ardennes in the north and Moselle region in the south east.
But most visitors are only interested in one thing: cheap fuel.
So-called ‘fuel tourism’ is big business. It rakes in more than €1 billion in tax plus €500 million in duty on the tobacco and alcohol sold alongside in the huge, hyper service stations and employs more than 2000 people.
Meanwhile, around 75 percent of the 2.6 billion litres sold each year are used outside the Grand Duchy borders, the majority of that by long-haul trucks.
But revenues are being steadily eroded by more fuel efficient vehicles and recent record low fuel prices generally.
Visits to filling stations have fallen by 10 percent in the past two years the boss of the Luxembourg Fuel Petrol Station Group said last week.
Buyers now tend to be cross-border workers and residents rather than driver who go out of their way reports Wort.lu.
All that said, fuel is still significantly cheaper than neighbouring countries. It is still worth working Luxembourg into your trans-Continental itinerary if possible.
According to Fuel Prices Europe yesterday, a litre of diesel sells for €0.847 in Luxembourg compared to €1.091 in Belgium, €0.969 in Germany and €1.015 in France.
The difference with unleaded95 petrol is even more marked: €1.036 in Luxembourg, €1.278 Belgium, €1.239 Germany and €1.258 France.
For the record, the gaps have narrowed with Germany and widened with Belgium since we last compared prices in October.
Indicative prices for the UK are €1.323 for diesel and €1.338 unleaded95.
roundup: FRANCE. After rates were frozen last year, autoroute tolls rise by an average 1.12% from today – ranging from 0.86% in the north to 1.63% in the south west (see more). The rise will have, ‘Serious consequences on the purchasing power of households and on the safety of road users,’ says campaign group 40 Million Automobilistes, a reference to motorways being five times safer than regular roads. Prices have increased to 16.4% in the past ten years says RTL.fr. One-way Calais-Avignon now costs €82.10 according to Autoroutes.fr. See more on the free French motorway network. ROAD TOLLS. The 2015 annual vignettes from Austria, Switzerland, Sloveni, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic expired yesterday. The windscreen stickers allow drivers to use designated roads – usually motorways – and are valid from the start of December of the previous year until the end of January the following year (to allow for Christmas and New Year holidays). In addition, Slovakia has now switched to an electronic vignette system, i.e. no longer a windscreen sticker. It costs €50 per year, €14 for 30 days or €10 for 10 days for a standard car. See official Slovakia info, or more on road tolls in Europe. LOW EMISSION ZONES. As of today, the west German city of Aachen – near the Belgian and Dutch borders – has a new LEZ (known locally as Umweltzone) according to UrbanAccessRegulations.eu. Vehicles need a green sticker to enter, meaning a Euro 1 or above for petrol power, or Euro 4 for diesel. The zone surrounds the city centre, bordered to the north by the A4 autobahn and in other directions by the ring road, but doesn’t include the A544 access road from the north east. The stickers should be bought in advance, apply even to foreign cars and cost around €30, see Environmental-Badge.co.uk.