• Fuel prices rocket in European motoring holiday destinations
• But Europe is cheaper than UK for diesel motoring
• Luxembourg is best value - the only country with a sub-£1 litre
• View the report at www.postoffice.co.uk/holidaymotoring2010
UK holidaymakers hopping onto a ferry to Europe to avoid ash and strike disruption in the skies this summer will find that it is not just UK pump prices that have gone through the roof. Post Office Travel Money’s new Motoring on the Continent report reveals that fuel prices are sky high across Europe too - up by as much as 24p a litre for unleaded petrol and 30p for diesel (www.postoffice.co.uk/holidaymotoring2010).
The highest rises are in Sweden, which, ironically, recorded 2009’s biggest falls. See-sawing prices in the country mean that holiday motorists will pay nearly 25 per cent more for unleaded and a swingeing 34 per cent extra for diesel fuel. The lowest increases recorded by Post Office Travel Money’s third annual survey of 14 countries were in Germany - up four per cent for unleaded petrol and 12 per cent for diesel¹.
But with reports of more trips taken by ferry², there is good news for holidaymakers travelling abroad in a diesel car. Compared with the UK, they will be quids in wherever they drive in Europe - except in Norway, rated the most expensive driving destination for three consecutive years in the Post Office survey.
Diesel costs 19 per cent less a litre in Spain (£1) than in the UK (£1.23) and is ten per cent cheaper in Ireland (£1.11), which looks a strong holiday contender this year as prices have dropped for accommodation, meals and drinks as well3.
Best deal of all is in Luxembourg, surveyed for the first time in 2010 and cheapest
for both fuels. At 91 pence, it offers the only sub-£1 litre of diesel in Europe4 -
making it 26 per cent cheaper than in the UK. It is also the only country where service stations are regulated, which means that drivers can be sure that fuel prices will be the same wherever they fill up.
Runner up Spain, one of the top five destinations for UK holidaymakers travelling abroad by ferry5, is also good value for both fuels - just 1p more than Luxembourg for unleaded petrol (£1.08)6. With a convenient UK route to Santander, tourists travelling to either Spain or south-west France can benefit from its lower prices.
There are mixed fortunes for UK tourists crossing to France. Over 50 per cent of those taking a ferry to Europe travel to one of the French channel ports but regular travellers may be surprised to find that diesel, historically much cheaper in France than in the UK, costs 24 per cent more than a year ago. At £1.18 a litre, the gap has closed but diesel remains 5p cheaper than in the UK. By comparison, unleaded petrol in France has risen by just 7.6 per cent, well below the 17.3 per cent UK increase.
The Post Office survey again revealed big differences in fuel costs between eurozone countries. Luxembourg was £56.61 less expensive for 1,000 miles of motoring in a car using unleaded petrol than the Netherlands, the most expensive eurozone country at £219.45. The gap was narrower for diesel fuel but motorists can still expect to pay almost £45 more to drive 1,000 miles in Italy than in Luxembourg.
Sarah Munro, Post Office Head of Travel Money, said: "Fuel costs may have risen steeply across Europe this year but our survey again found wide variations in pump prices. This means that UK tourists taking motoring holidays can still make significant savings if they plan carefully. For example, motorists travelling through eastern France could save 15.7 per cent by crossing into Luxembourg and filling up there.
"The clear message to tourists is to check prices before planning their route and fill up in countries where unleaded petrol or diesel is cheaper. Avoid topping up the tank on motorways and instead get fuel at the ferry ports, where it is invariably cheaper, or stop at European supermarkets where it costs less too. With sterling on the rise, tourists should also change money in the UK before they leave to avoid paying more overseas."
All currencies in the Motoring on the Continent report are available at the Post Office. Over 70 currencies can be pre-ordered for next day branch collection at all 11,500 Post Office outlets or online at postoffice.co.uk. Home delivery can also be requested online. Euros are available over the counter at 8,700 Post Office branches. The full range of currencies is available at 1,600 Post Office branches.
Source: Royal Mail - The Post Office