Swiss petrol stations overcharging by 20 rappen a litre, owner claims

Swiss petrol stations overcharging by 20 rappen a litre, owner claims

“Yes, drivers in Switzerland are being fleeced!” That was the conclusion of Michael Knobel, owner of a chain of petrol stations in Canton Zurich, who claims that major Swiss fuel providers are charging customers 20 rappen (cents) more a litre than they should.

Petrol stations in Switzerland overcharging drivers, owner claims

The owner of the chain of petrol stations in Winterthur claimed that he is able to run a profitable station by charging up to 20 rappen a litre less than other major brands. As evidence of the overcharging, Knobel claimed that at major petrol stations near his branches, the price of petrol is the same as his at around 1,69 francs per litre. However, once you drive to other parts of Winterthur and other cities and cantons, the price shoots up. 

Knobel explained that the cost of petrol for drivers is based on a number of factors, including the wholesale price of fuel, the exchange rate, the level of the Rhine River (which impacts shipments of oil), taxes, VAT, salaries, rent and maintenance. To make a profit, he adds a margin of between three and 10 rappen per litre: "That's where my comfort zone is and I feel like I'm earning enough per litre. If it were any higher, I would feel like I was earning too much."

He added that once he opens a new station with the lower price, other providers in the area drop their prices down to his within 24 hours. "For me, these are strange price movements," Knobel mused. "If I can offer such low prices everywhere, why can't the big companies do the same?"

Major Swiss fuel providers blame high prices on market forces

In response to the claims, a Migrol spokesperson told Blick that they “regularly check the price level in the vicinity of our stations. Due to this development, we have been able to reduce prices several times in the last few days." Swiss supermarket Coop added in a statement that the reason for the low fuel prices in Winterthur is “due to the high density of gas stations and the large number of different providers." This in turn creates "intense competition - and therefore great price pressure."

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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