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ENERGY

Cost of living: Why are petrol prices in Austria still so high?

As people set off on summer holidays, motorists are noticing a big difference in the price of petrol in neighbouring countries. Here’s why fuel is so expensive in Austria.

Cost of living: Why are petrol prices in Austria still so high?
Petrol and diesel prices are remaining stubbornly high in Austria. Photo: Engin Akyurt via Pexels.

For anyone running a car right now, it will come as no surprise that fuel prices in Austria are currently higher than the EU average.

An analysis of data in the weekly oil bulletin by the European Commission shows that the cost of diesel in Austria is currently 5.7 percent higher than other EU states, and petrol (or Super, as it is known in Austria) is 5.1 percent more expensive.

This puts Austria as more expensive than the EU average for the first time in a decade when it comes to filling up a car.

The research was carried out by Der Standard and the prices analysed include all taxes and duties.

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

Up until March of this year, fuel costs in Austria had remained affordable and the Alpine Republic was usually in the lower third of EU countries when it came to petrol and diesel prices. 

So what happened? And why are fuel prices in Austria now higher than other EU countries?

Price caps and a damaged oil refinery

According to the Der Standard report, the higher cost of fuel in Austria comes down to two elements: neighbouring countries introducing price caps or lowering taxes, and a damaged oil refinery in Lower Austria.

For example, the German government has temporarily lowered taxes on petrol and diesel, which means it now costs five to 15 percent less to fill up a tank in Germany than in Austria.

In Italy, the government recently extended a 30 cent discount on fuel for consumers, and in Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia there are price caps in place.

READ ALSO: ‘Be mindful of energy and food waste’: How to beat inflation in Austria

Then there was the accident at Austria’s Schwechat OMV oil refinery in June. The facility has since been operating under a limited capacity until it can be repaired in the autumn, which has further impacted Austrian fuel prices. 

At the time of writing, The Local checked fuel prices at petrol stations across the country via the ÖAMTC app.

In Vienna, at the Turmöl gas station on Margaratenstrasse, petrol was €1.984 a litre and diesel was €1.974.

Prices in Innsbruck at the Shell station on Brenner Strasse were €1.999 for diesel and petrol. And in Graz, fuel prices at the F. Leitner on Elisabethinergasse were €1.952 for both diesel and petrol.

To compare, petrol prices at Bavaria Petrol on Zehentbauernstrasse in Munich, Germany, were €1.749 and diesel was €1.959, according to the ADAC. In Berlin, it’s even cheaper with petrol at STAR on Berliner Allee for €1.629 a litre and diesel at €1.819.

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ENERGY

From lighting to ice skating: How Vienna plans to save energy

Winter is approaching and with it a higher use of energy. Here’s what the City of Vienna is doing to save gas and electricity this winter.

From lighting to ice skating: How Vienna plans to save energy

As the war in Ukraine continues and energy prices skyrocket, Austria could be in for a tough winter.

To offset some of the impacts, the City of Vienna is now preparing for the cold season and rolling out a series of energy saving measures.

The aim is to reduce energy consumption in the Austrian capital by 15 percent by the end of March 2023, which is in line with the target set by the European Commission earlier this year.

FOR MEMBERS: UPDATED: How reliant is Austria on Russia for energy?

Mayor Michael Ludwig said: “Cooperation in Vienna is the most important basis for getting through difficult times well and safely.

“We proved that during the pandemic and we will prove that now. Our motto is: stick together so that everyone stays warm.”

Here are the main elements of the plan.

Ice skating

The Wiener Eistraum ice skating rink on Rathausplatz is scheduled to run from January to March 2023. But, according to the Wiener Zeitung, there is uncertainty over whether it can take place at all this winter.

The structure on Vienna’s town hall square is a popular winter attraction in the city. It attracts both locals and tourists with pretty lighting and pre-heated ice skates for hire. But it also requires a lot of energy to operate.

As a result, there is a possibility that the Wiener Eistraum could be cancelled or scaled back, although a final decision hasn’t been made yet.

READ ALSO: Reader question: I’ve received my Austrian Klimabonus as a voucher, now what?

Christmas markets

The Wiener Zeitung reports that Vienna’s Christmas market in front of the Rathausplatz is currently not at risk of being cancelled – at least not under the current plans.

The Rathausplatz is the city’s biggest Christmas market and is scheduled to open on November 19th, which is one week later than in 2021.

Lighting

The City of Vienna said the conversion to LED street lighting is continuing across the capital. So far, around half of the city’s 153,000 street lamps have been replaced with LED bulbs. 

The use of street lighting in Vienna has also changed. From 10pm, lighting in low-traffic areas is reduced to 75 percent, and then to 50 percent after midnight.

The LED street lighting project is expected to reduce energy consumption by 60 percent and is part of the city’s long-term energy saving plans.

Administrative buildings, campuses and pools

Energy saving measures are also being rolled out across administrative buildings, at public pools and educational buildings in Vienna.

The Town Hall claims that around 193,000 MWh (or €14.7 million) has already been saved at 42 government buildings, including at kindergartens and schools.

Further energy saving projects are planned for the Jörgerbad, Floridsdorferbad and Kongressbad public pools.

Additionally, the Liselotte-Hansen-Schmidt campuses in Donaustadt, Liesing and Penzing are heated and cooled with geothermal energy. They are also fitted with large photovoltaic systems.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to keep energy bills down in Austria

Investment in the energy network

Between 2022 and 2026, Wiener Stadtwerke Group will invest around €6.2 billion to improve Vienna’s energy infrastructure, with €5.7 billion earmarked for “climate-friendly investments”. 

Wien Energie is investing €1.2 billion into the conversion of the energy system by 2026 and around €400 million is reserved for the expansion of renewable electricity production.

Peter Hanke, City Councillor for Economic Affairs, said: “In addition to the city’s goal of being climate-neutral by 2040, the security of supply for the Viennese is particularly important to me. 

“By 2030, we will invest around €3 billion in the network security of the federal capital Vienna via Wiener Netze. 

“Such a stable power grid makes the integration of renewable energies possible because 90 percent of the energy transition takes place in the distribution grid.” 

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