Just across Belgium’s southern border, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has always been a stock-up destination for Belgians. Despite being a generally expensive place to live, shops just over the border sell cigarettes for around €2 cheaper per pack, beer for up to €1.50 cheaper, and increasingly relevant, fuel at some of the lowest prices in the region.
Compared to the Belgian average of €1.83 a litre (as of 16 May) for 95 petrol, fuel in Luxembourg is up to 19 cents per litre cheaper. In these times of high energy prices, skyrocketing inflation, and declining purchasing power, fuel tourism is often worth the journey for those living in the south of Belgium.
Unlike Belgium, Luxembourg has both an extremely low amount of cars on its road and nominal taxes on fuel. Before the global energy crisis, fuel in Luxembourg was even cheaper. In recent months, the price of petrol has risen by around 16%, for diesel by 24%.
Belgian newspaper l’Avenir states that some Belgians are now filling up jerry cans to stockpile fuel at cheaper prices. Shopkeepers told the newspaper that Belgians were still too scared to fully fill their vehicles due to the rollercoaster prices, instead preferring to fill up with smaller volumes.
In February, Luxembourg witnessed a wave of renewed fuel tourism sparked by spiralling petrol prices in other countries. German truckers flocked to the Grand Duchy attracted by low fuel taxes. Mayors of two border towns with Germany noted a huge influx of truck drivers deviating from their route to go in search of cheap fuel in Luxembourg.
Sadly, this is less than good for the environment. According to data from Eurostat, Luxembourg had the highest greenhouse gas emissions per capita in 2019. Luxembourg’s National Energy and Climate Plan partly blames this on the extremely high quantities of fuel tourists, who account for nearly 70% of emissions related to the sale of fuel.