Why It May Pay To Fill Her Up Before You Go

Taking your car abroad is a great way of exploring the sights of Europe and beyond without the restrictions of set plane, train or bus timetables.

You simply load the car, with the only weight limit being the capacity of your boot rather than what an airline deems too big or heavy, and hit the open road.

But before you set off it is worth checking if you would be better off filling up on this side of the border to avoid getting hit by fuel hikes across Europe.

Startling research from Post Office Travel Money, looking at 20 European countries, shows fuel prices have risen by up to 40 per cent for unleaded petrol and 51 per cent for diesel in Europe over the past 12 months.

You may have already noticed increased prices at the pumps here in the UK, currently averaging at £1.15 per litre for unleaded and £1.15 per litre for diesel, but it is made worse over on the continent due to the fall in the value of the pound since last year’s EU referendum in June 2016.

For example, if you are crossing the Channel for a drive around France, it may be cheaper to fill a petrol engine here, with prices in Calais and beyond more 5p more expensive at £1.20 per litre, according to the Post Office Money annual Motoring on the Continent Report. 

However, it may be worth finding a French pump when it comes to diesel, with prices at £1.08 per litre, 7p cheaper than in the UK.

The biggest increase has been in Greece, Post Office Travel Money says, where a litre of unleaded petrol has been hiked by 42p to £1.46.

There is some relief if you are driving diesel in Greece, with prices cheaper than petrol, but you would still be paying 39p – or 51 per cent – more than last year.

There are some countries where it is cheaper to fill up with certain fuel. 

For example, drivers in the Netherlands will pay 32p less for diesel, at £1.13 per litre, compared with £1.45 per litre for petrol.

Norway was found to be the most expensive place to fill up overall, with drivers paying £1.56 for petrol per litre and diesel coming to £1.44.

You will find the cheapest fuel on the continent if you happen to be driving through Andorra, where motorists typically pay 95p per litre for petrol and 81p per litre for diesel, according to the report.

Andorra isn’t the only place you can fill up for under a £1 a litre.

The report claims petrol in Austria can be picked up at 98p per litre or 90p for diesel, or you could pay 86p per litre for diesel in Luxembourg or 97p in the ever-popular destination of Spain.

All these prices may seem high but you are actually paying less than five years ago to drive around Europe, according to the report.

Andrew Brown, of Post Office Travel Money, says: “It’s always good to put the prices we are paying now for commodities into context.

“In the case of fuel, the cost of crude oil has fallen significantly since 2012 so motorists are paying up to 20 per cent less for unleaded petrol now than five years ago and as much as 23 per cent less for diesel.

“In Europe, the biggest falls of 29p a litre for unleaded petrol and 27p for diesel are in France, the country where the greatest numbers of UK holiday motorists are likely to drive.”

Check out the table below to see where you would be better off filling up.

Country Petrol per litre Diesel per litre Amount less/more for diesel
Netherlands £1.45 £1.13 -£0.32
Greece £1.46 £1.16 -£0.30
Denmark £1.43 £1.20 -£0.23
Germany £1.22 £1.02 -£0.20
Portugal £1.33 £1.14 -£0.19
Luxembourg £1.02 £0.86 -£0.16
Andorra £0.95 £0.81 -£0.14
Italy £1.37 £1.24 -£0.13
Norway £1.56 £1.44 -£0.12
France £1.20 £1.08 -£0.12
Slovenia £1.11 £1.01 -£0.10
Ireland £1.21 £1.11 -£0.10
Spain £1.06 £0.97 -£0.09
Austria £0.98 £0.90 -£0.08
Croatia £1.15 £1.07 -£0.08
Belgium £1.23 £1.16 -£0.07
Sweden £1.31 £1.29 -£0.02
Cyprus £1.04 £1.03 -£0.01
UK £1.16 £1.17 +£0.01
Switzerland £1.13 £1.16 +£0.03

Goes to show what a rip off this country is with diesel Every other country diesel is cheaper

As I go to France frequently from about March to November I rarely have to fill up in England. You quote £1.08 as the price for diesel in France but if you fill up at a hyper/supermarket, such as Carrefour or Leclerc (the two I most frequently use), even with an exchange rate of €1.14 to the pound, my last fill-up this week cost me £1.02 per litre.