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UPDATED: How to save money on fuel costs in Austria

UPDATED: How to save money on fuel costs in Austria
It is possible to find cheaper petrol places in Austria if you know where to look. (Photo by Engin Akyurt / Pexels)

With the price of fuel reaching record highs - and already passing the €2 a litre mark in some places - many motorists in Austria will be wondering how to cut down on costs. Here’s how.

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On Wednesday, the price of a litre of petrol crossed the €2 mark for the first time in some parts of Austria, including in Vienna and Tyrol.

This has prompted Pamela Rendi-Wagner, leader of the Social Democrat Party of Austria (SPÖ), to call for a temporary suspension of VAT on fuel to help motorists with rising costs, as reported by Der Standard.

Fuel prices in Austria - and across Europe - have been rising steadily for weeks due to inflation fuelled by the Covid-19 pandemic and fears of global instability following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Just three weeks ago, the Austrian Automobile, Motorcycle and Touring Club (ÖAMTC) announced the average price of diesel in Austria had hit an all time high of €1.477, which (at the time) was in line with the average cost of petrol.

And prices are already set to rise again from July 2022 when a carbon levy of €30 per tonne will be added to the cost of fuel in Austria as part of an overhaul of the country’s tax system. 

Nikola Junick, Transport Economics Expert at the ÖAMTC, said: "Then the prices at the pumps will rise by 7.7 cents per litre of premium [petrol] and 8.8 cents per litre of diesel."

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Motorists in the west of the country are also bracing themselves for even higher prices in the summer with fuel costs typically more expensive than in the east, according to a report in the Tiroler Tageszeitung.

As a result, Junick from ÖAMTC is expecting a new fuel price record in Austria to be reached in July and is worried about the impact on motorist’s finances.

He said: “People who depend on their car every day and have to cover long distances will feel it. The government is therefore required to cushion the current price increases and at least reduce the additional burden from July. 

“Although a price stability mechanism is planned, this will only take effect for the planned increases from 2023."

Austria's price stability mechanism

The price stability mechanism (Preisstabilitätsmechanismus) is a Federal Government initiative that will come into effect in 2023 to monitor the cost of fossil fuel energy. The aim is to protect private households from fluctuating prices.

For example, if energy prices go up one year, then the annual increase in the CO2 tax will be reduced the following year to stabilise the prices, and vice versa.

Revenue from the CO2 levy is expected to generate around €5 billion by 2025 and coincides with the introduction of a “climate bonus” for Austrian taxpayers to offset the added cost of the measures.

But in the meantime, what can motorists do to reduce their fuel bills?

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Money saving tips for motorists

The first step to saving money on the cost of petrol and diesel is to reduce how often you drive. 

This is easier in the summer months with the option to travel by bike instead of car, but for people that commute long distances to work or have a family to transport, this is not always possible.

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Then there is public transport - especially for those living in larger towns and cities. But in rural areas public transport is not as frequent or easy to access, which means for some this is not a viable option.

Other tips from ÖAMTC to save money on fuel are:

  • Fill up your car at the start of the week as fuel becomes more expensive towards the weekend.
  • Fill up in the morning to avoid the possibility of one-off price increases that are allowed from 12pm. 
  • Avoid using expensive motorway petrol stations, if possible.
  • If travelling to Tyrol or Vorarlberg, fill up your vehicle in advance to avoid higher fuel prices in these provinces.

However, for people that have to drive a car and can’t limit their usage, the best way to save money on fuel is by searching for the cheapest prices.

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How to find cheap petrol and diesel in Austria

Petrol distributors and stations compete with each other, which is good news for consumers.

To make it easier to find the best deals, there is an app by ÖAMTC to help motorists find the cheapest fuel prices in their area, or wherever they are travelling in Austria.

In the ÖAMTC app, users can search by petrol or diesel (depending on their vehicle) to view details of current prices at petrol stations in the selected area.

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For example, at the time of writing, The Local found the cheapest petrol prices in Vienna to be at Turmöl on Margaretenstrasse for €1.859 per litre. Turmöl also had the cheapest diesel at €1.959.

In Graz in Styria, both Turmöl Quick on Fabriksgasse and Rumpold on Kasernstrasse has petrol for €1.854. They were both the cheapest places for diesel at €1.954.

And in Innsbruck in Tyrol, BP Express on Höttinger had the cheapest petrol price at €1.959. Diesel was priced the same at most Innsbruck Tankstellen (petrol stations) at €1.999.

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