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Petrol Problem: Home & Away

The start of the summer holiday season brings about thoughts of far away lands, sunny beaches and being able to briefly escape the world of economic stress.

However, at a time when every penny counts, the news that petrol prices across Europe have increased dramatically will not come as music to any potential land-traversing holidaymaker's ears.

The start of the summer holiday season brings about thoughts of far away lands, sunny beaches and being able to briefly escape the world of economic stress. However, at a time when every penny counts, the news that petrol prices across Europe have increased dramatically will not come as music to any potential land-traversing holidaymaker's ears. 

The shape of the average British holiday is taking on an increasingly frugal feel, and with package holiday prices on the up in the main, alternatives are often being sought.

What may come as a surprise is that Britain itself is actually fourth cheapest on this list of fuel prices

A report by the Post Office has warned that travelling costs by car across Europe this summer will certainly take a toll on holiday costs and should be carefully considered when planning a journey. The falling value of the pound has also added to the problem, and the Post Office has advised that careful planning of routes can save a great deal of money, even suggesting border-crossing in order to pay less for petrol.

What may come as a surprise is that Britain itself is actually fourth cheapest on this list of fuel prices, containing sixteen nations from across Europe, with an average price of 136p per litre. Whilst this is a 14p increase from this time last year, some countries fuel price increase is over double this, Switzerland seeing an increase of 35p a litre and Norway 34p. The countries perhaps most likely to be driven through by British holidaymakers this year, France and Ireland, have respectively seen a 32p and 31p price increase. Compare this to the USA, where motorists on average pay 64p a litre, and many holidaymakers will be very much put off the idea of saving money by driving to destinations.

  Country Petrol per litre
1 Norway 182p
2 Netherlands 166p
3 Belgium 162p
4 Denmark 160p
5 France 155p
6 Germany 155p
7 Sweden 151p
8 Italy 148p
9 Ireland 147p
10 Switzerland 141p
11 UK 136p
12 Austria 133p
13 Spain 130p
14 Luxembourg 128p

With fuel prices such a problem and so high both at home and abroad then, what can be done to save money on petrol? Perhaps unsurprisingly, figures suggest that there are fewer road journeys being made, and that a record number of people are now walking or cycling. The sales of petrol are also dropping, and long journeys are being made more frequently by train or coach, rather than by car. Even average motorway speeds are down, and it is undoubtable that drivers are changing their ways in order to cut costs.

In 2008 the fuel protests that brought some parts of Britain to a standstill were in protest at petrol reaching prices of 80p a litre, yet prices today far exceed that, with drivers begrudgingly accepting the extreme prices and doing their utmost to restrict costs in any way possible. Making sure that tyres are pumped fully, driving with an empty boot to lighten the car, and driving at times that avoid traffic congestion have all been suggested as possible ways of reducing fuel costs, but this is perhaps an impossibility with regards to holidaymakers and travelling across Europe.

Will we see similar scenes to the petrol strikes then, and angry queues outside our local travel agents? Perhaps not, but what is for certain is that everybody is looking for ways to limit their spending, and the price of fuel is another cause of concern. With holiday choices already changing dramatically in order to spend less, the high price of fuel both in Britain and Europe will only add to these changing trends. 

 

By Sean Dudley

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