German motorists have driven through Poland to refuel after learning they could save up to 30 euro cents per liter on gasoline and diesel. The gap follows a reduction in fuel tax in Poland in response to rising inflation, which will soon be followed by temporary reductions in fuel VAT.
Local German newspapers have printed a glossary of useful terms in Polish to ensure that those traveling to Poland are not using the wrong pump. Meanwhile, new gas stations are opening in Poland for gasoline tourists, with signs in German and payments accepted in euros.
Preisbewusste Tanktourist: innen zieht es derzeit nach #Poland – denn sleeps kann der liter #Kraftstoff bis zu 30 Cent günstiger sein. Und die Preise sollen noch einmal zu #Neujahr fallen. https://t.co/7T4OKPmhjV#benzine #tank #tankeninpolen #tanktourismus pic.twitter.com/2ZYR7oJiWE
– rbb | 24 (@ rbb24) December 21, 2021
Cross-border fuel tourism became more attractive on Monday for people living in eastern Brandenburg, next to the Polish border, as new measures designed to limit the impact of Poland’s highest inflation in two decades have been put in place, reports Märkische Allgemeiner, a regional newspaper.
They included a reduction in excise duties to the EU minimum, which will be followed on January 1 by a reduction in VAT on fuel.
The price difference could amount to 30 cents per liter, or € 15 for a standard 50-liter tank, the newspaper notes. It also offers readers an introduction to the Polish equivalents of the names of the different types of petrol and diesel available at service stations in order to avoid any accidents for those who do not speak the language.
Polish Prime Minister urges EU to allow VAT cuts on fuel and food to ease inflation shock
Nordkurier, an information service from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, which also has a border with Poland, predicts that falling prices in Poland could trigger an increase in fuel tourism. He notes that Daniel Obajtek, head of Polish fuel giant Orlen, expects prices to drop by 6.5 euro cents per liter.
New petrol stations are opening on the Polish side of the border, where most customers have German license plates, Business Insider Polska reports. A newly opened Lotos station has a banner welcoming them in their own language: “Offen! Herzlich willkommen ”.
Although prices reached record highs in Poland, the increases in Germany were not less. The average cost per liter in 2020 was € 1.57, compared to € 1.29 the previous year, notes Business Insider. In addition to cheaper fuel, drivers also often bring back large quantities of cigarettes, which remain much cheaper in Poland.
Fuel prices reach their highest level for years in Poland
“Maybe Poland is no longer a cheap country,” a German driver told Business Insider. “But somehow I can’t imagine the prices of gas stations or cigarettes reaching the Germans. So I guess the stations can count on us.
“We always refuel here,” another motorist told RBB24, a news site covering Berlin and Brandenburg. “We never refuel in Germany, because it is quite simply cheaper [in Poland]. “
As well as giving readers a language lesson, German newspapers have also warned them of the current restrictions on crossing the border. Germans crossing the border without a Covid certificate are supposed to go into quarantine for 10 days, note Märkische Allgemeiner.
Poland is currently classified as a high risk area for Covid infection in Germany, which means unvaccinated people must be quarantined after their return, although local border traffic is exempt, the newspaper adds.
Historic bridge on the German-Polish border reopens as a cycle and walking path
Main image credit: Orlen press documents
Ben Koschalka is a translator and associate editor at Notes from Poland. Originally from Great Britain, he has lived in Krakow since 2005.