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UPDATED: How to save money on fuel costs in Austria

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.

UPDATED: How to save money on fuel costs in Austria
Petrol and diesel prices in Austria have hit record highs. Photo: Engin Akyurt via Pexels.

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.”

READ ALSO: How Vienna’s parking system will change in March

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?

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.

FOR MEMBERS: Ten destinations by direct night train from Austria

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.

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.

READ MORE: Cost of living: Seven tips to save money in Austria

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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MONEY

EXPLAINED: How to claim your €150 energy discount in Austria

Austria is sending out "energy vouchers" to some four million households, in an effort to cushion rising living costs in the country.

EXPLAINED: How to claim your €150 energy discount in Austria

By the end of May, around four million households in Austria will receive a voucher worth € 150 to discount their energy bills. 

The one-off payment is part of a larger package by the federal government to assist residents as the country faces soaring energy prices and increasing inflation, as reported. 

Around one million vouchers will be sent each week, and each primary residence should receive a voucher by post by the end of May.

The bonus is directly connected to the electricity supplier. It can be redeemed by single-person households with an annual income of up to € 55,000 or residences with more people and up to € 110,000 yearly income.

voucher for energy costs in austria

The website to redeem the energy voucher can also be found in English.

How do I redeem the voucher?

The € 150 discount voucher will be mailed to households and can be redeemed online. People entitled to the discount can scan the QR code on the voucher or go to the official government page, which also has an English version.

READ ALSO: Is Austria set for a gas price hike – and what can you do to avoid it?

You are then prompted to enter the data of the energy customer and asked to keep the voucher number and check number so you can check the status of the application.  

According to the official page, consumers should receive a credit worth €150 with their energy provider’s annual or final invoice. 

The voucher can also be redeemed by post. You need to confirm your main residence, that you do not go over the income limit (for a single-person household, the limit corresponds to a monthly gross salary of about €5,670 for employees, double that for multi-person homes).

You should also specify your electricity supplier, note down your voucher number and your check digit and complete the fields in the voucher. Finally, you can then send the return envelope back by post.

The voucher must be redeemed, either electronically or by mail, at least until October 31st. 

Who can redeem the voucher?

Every registered person registered in the central office (Zentralen Medleregister) with a primary residence in Austria will receive a voucher by mail, but not everyone can redeem it.

According to the federal government, people must have had their main residence at the registered address for at least one day from March 15th 2022, to June 30th of the same year. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why are fuel prices increasing faster in Austria than elsewhere in the EU?

Additionally, the person who redeems needs to be the paying customer of an energy supplier, so if you have moved abroad and no longer have a contract, you can no longer use the voucher and not go over the income limits. 

People can only redeem one voucher, so if you moved your main residence within this period and received two vouchers, only one can be used. 

What if I haven’t received my voucher?

The government intends to send the vouchers by post until the end of May. Still, it alerts that if you haven’t received one by July 2022, you can use the website to check what happened or call 050 233 798 and request a voucher until August 31st. 

READ ALSO: Will inflation force tax changes in Austria from 2023?

What if the € 150 is higher than the amount due in the electricity bill?

In that case, according to the federal government, the excess amount will be credited by the electricity supplier for later invoices. 

Useful vocabulary

Voucher – Gutschein

Electricity supplier – Stromlieferant

Main place of residence – Hauptwohnsitz

Income Limitation – Einkunftsgrenze

Payslip – Lohnzettel

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