Swiss drivers rush to Germany to take advantage of lower petrol prices

Swiss drivers rush to Germany to take advantage of lower petrol prices

While the Swiss government remains in deadlock over plans to cut taxes on fuel and energy, drivers are flocking across the border to petrol stations in Germany, where the government has cut fuel duty to help consumers.

Swiss drivers travel to Germany to fill up on fuel

According to Watson, many drivers are already making the journey from Swiss cities to Germany in order to save money on fuel. Currently, petrol and diesel is around 20 rappen (centimes) a litre cheaper in Germany than in the alpine nation.

So-called “fuel tank tourism” is not uncommon in Swiss cantons and German federal states near the border. In November 2021, for example, German drivers were filling up in Switzerland to take advantage of lower fuel prices in Thurgau, St. Gallen and Zurich.

Parliament of Switzerland in deadlock over attempt to cut fuel taxes

Now that the phenomenon is reversed, politicians have called on the government to cut fuel taxes to help consumers. However, unlike in Germany and the Netherlands - which have both successfully implemented tax cuts on petrol and diesel - Watson has compared current negotiations in parliament to trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

"Extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary measures," said Swiss People’s Party president Marco Chiesa, who noted that filling the tank in Switzerland costs 30 francs more today than it did a year ago. In all, his party is looking to increase the commuting allowance in Swiss tax returns from 3.000 to 6.000 francs and to cut fuel taxes by 50 percent.

On the other side of the political aisle, the Green Party wants to combat the rising cost of living by making public transport tickets cheaper. Among their proposals is a plan to reduce the cost of a second-class GA travel card from 3.860 Swiss francs to 2.000 and give a one-off payment, known as an "energy voucher," to people based on salaries and overall needs.

Swiss political parties urge the government to act soon to curb inflation

Unfortunately, neither plan had the support of other parties, meaning that all proposals made to cut the cost of fuel were rejected by the Council of States in the latest parliamentary session. There is also hesitation among the executive Federal Council, with Finance Minister Ueli Maurer calling on parliament to “not blow the powder” and act right away. “You can't keep handing out money," he exclaimed.

According to state councillor Philipp Matthias Bregy, the Federal Council is expected to "present a crisis package before it's too late." On Thursday, it will be the National Council's turn to try and find a solution, but while the deadlock remains, all parties agree that something needs to be done to slow price rises.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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