- Hans Weber
- December 7, 2023
Czechs Flocking to Polish Border Gas Stations for Cheaper Fuel
Czech motorists are increasingly heading to Polish border gas stations to fill up their tanks with cheaper fuel. Pumps in border towns such as Lubawka, Sklarske Poreby, and Kudowa Zdrój, as well as more distant locations like Jelenia Góra, have been witnessing a steady influx of cars with Czech license plates.
Some of the busiest Polish gas stations are encountering queues of Czech vehicles, especially on weekends. Occasionally, these high-demand stations run out of fuel, leading to motorists sharing their experiences and information through social media.
One Facebook post stated, “Gas station in Lubawka, fuel is out,” accompanied by a photo showing the price of gasoline at just under six zlotys per liter, which is approximately eight Czech crowns cheaper than the fuel prices in neighboring Czechia. Diesel fuel is also available at a similar price range.
Poland has been experiencing occasional fuel shortages as a result of the significant number of Czech motorists driving to the border to take advantage of the price difference between Polish and Czech fuels. As a response to this demand, gas stations typically replenish their gasoline and diesel fuel supplies within hours.
For drivers, the fuel shortages are not causing significant problems since they can easily reach the next gas station that hasn’t run out of fuel. According to Miroslav Vlasák, the director of the European Grouping for Territorial Cooperation NOVUM based in Jelenia Góra, Lower Silesia, such shortages occur quite often along the route from the border to Jelenia Góra, a distance of approximately fifty kilometers.
The trend of Czechs traveling to Polish border gas stations for more affordable fuel is not a recent phenomenon. In the spring of last year, these stations began experiencing shortages due to a significant price gap, where Polish fuel was around twelve Czech crowns cheaper per liter. During that time, reduced VAT rates in Poland, from 23% to 8%, made the trip worthwhile for Czech residents in border areas and cities located over sixty kilometers away.
Today, the situation is repeating itself, and Poland has not reintroduced restrictions imposed last year, such as a limit of fifty liters per refueling and a ban on fueling in jerry cans. This freedom allows individuals to maximize savings by combining refueling with shopping, often at stores like Biedronka.
Czech shoppers who travel to Poland for cheaper fuel often take advantage of the opportunity to purchase more affordable goods, and many report having positive experiences with Polish food. However, as the trend continues, some local residents express concerns about overcrowding and prefer to shop in peace at slightly more expensive stores.
While the availability of affordable fuel in Poland is expected to persist until October 15, coinciding with the parliamentary elections in the country, it is anticipated that fuel prices in Poland will rise after the elections, making this a temporary but attractive option for Czech motorists. The state-controlled company Orlen lowered fuel prices to support the ruling party, Law and Justice, which has forced other retailers to follow suit to remain competitive. Once the elections are over, fuel prices in Poland are likely to increase, reducing the appeal for Czech residents to travel to Poland for cheaper fuel.
Article by Prague Forum
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- Hans Weber
- December 7, 2023