Fuel tank tourism: German drivers come to Switzerland amid fuel shortage

Fuel tank tourism: German drivers come to Switzerland amid fuel shortage

After a “fuel bottleneck” hit the German state of Baden-Württemberg, German drivers have started to cross the border into Switzerland to get their petrol. Shortages at German pumps are already causing prices to spike, with experts warning drivers in Switzerland may encounter the same issues soon.

German drivers crossing the Swiss border to get fuel

So-called “tank tourism” from Germany has been on the rise recently, with a spokesperson from the Swiss energy supplier AGROLA saying more customers have come from across the border in recent weeks than from Swiss cantons. Germans are choosing to refuel in Switzerland because of the supply shortages and the price, which can be 29 cents per litre cheaper.

Andreas Vorburger from Ruedi Rüssel petrol stations predicted the trend will continue, but noted the same supply bottlenecks that Germany is experiencing could also impact Switzerland.

The main reason for the supply issue is the low water levels in the Rhine River and a shipwreck around Karlsruhe. Southern states in Germany rely on tankers using the Rhine to unload fuel at Basel and other ports along the river. Due to the low water line, fuel tankers are only 40 percent loaded, which is causing the increased price and shortage.

Fuel problems in Germany may be coming to Switzerland

What is concerning for Switzerland, according to Vorburger, is that Switzerland also relies heavily on the Rhine, with two-thirds of diesel in the alpine nation arriving by boat. He went on to assure Swiss customers that “we can still meet all our obligations”, as Switzerland’s warehouses are full, and the country has a good mix of supply routes through the Swiss rail network.

The current supply issues in Germany are expected to ease over the coming days, with the wet weather in Switzerland due to raise the water line in the Rhine. If the dry conditions continue, which is predicted for next week, the Swiss government can tap into emergency stockpiles to ease the pressure on petrol stations.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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