A view from Germany of a Shell petrol station in nearby Slubice in Poland, the promised land for all tank tourists from East Germany.

The Association of the Garage and Gas Station Industry North-East assumes that fuel tourism will pick up due to the planned reduction in fuel tax in Poland.

Berlin – Refuel at the neighbor? The planned reduction in fuel tax in Poland on February 1st, fuel tourism in the neighboring country will pick up again. This is what the Association of the Garage and Gas Station Industry North-East is assuming.

A view from Germany of a Shell petrol station in nearby Slubice in Poland, the promised land for all tank tourists from East Germany. © Jörg Carstensen / dpa

The difference in fuel prices is already serious, said the chairman of the association, Hans-Joachim Rühlemann, of the German press agency. For example, the petrol price for E10 is currently around 1.74 euros per liter, whereas in Poland it is the equivalent of 1.22 euros.

If Poland cuts the tax on diesel and petrol, this will amount to another ten cents. “Anyone who can and has the mood will go to Poland,” he said. The association looks after around 300 petrol stations in Berlin and in the eastern German states.

The Polish government has announced that it will temporarily reduce the tax on diesel and petrol from 23 to 8 percent from February 1st. This could make the liter of fuel 15 cents cheaper. The measure is intended to relieve the people of Poland from the consequences of inflation.

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The federal police in Saxony assumes that – if prices fall – the population in areas near the border will increasingly travel to Poland. She wants to keep an eye on tank tourism, according to spokesman Marcel Pretzsch. So far, however, this has not led to traffic jams at the border, he estimated.

Given these fuel prices, a detour to Poland is worthwhile for many motorists from the eastern part of Germany.

Given these fuel prices, a detour to Poland is worthwhile for many motorists from the eastern part of Germany. © Monika Skolimowska / dpa-Zentralbild / dpa

According to the Federal Police Inspection Pasewalk in Western Pomerania, the officials have recently not noticed any significant increase in border traffic or even traffic problems due to lower fuel prices in Poland. That is probably also because there is currently no holiday season, said a spokesman.

The inspection is responsible for the former border crossings in Ahlbeck on the island of Usedom, in Linken and Pomellen. Locals have long been commuting across the border to go shopping. Stettin, for example, is a shopping magnet.

The spokesman could not estimate whether the situation would change from February onwards. According to a spokesman for the district of Vorpommern-Greifswald, tank tourism is not new in Western Pomerania.

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“We have been observing this for years.” However, he could imagine that in the course of the spread of the Omikron variant of the corona virus, closer attention will be paid to border traffic in the future.

For the petrol stations on the German side, increasing fuel tourism has “catastrophic” effects, according to the head of the association, Rühlemann. More and more drivers from Berlin are also going to Poland to refuel. “And the closer the petrol stations are to the Polish border, the greater the loss in sales.”

The association demands a higher commission for fuel per liter from the mineral oil companies for the petrol station operators in the area. So far it has been between 1 and 1.2 cents per liter, according to Rühlemann. “That is clearly not enough.”

Cover photo: Monika Skolimowska / dpa-Zentralbild / dpa, Jörg Carstensen / dpa (photo montage)

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