For members


Petrol to top CHF2 per litre in several Swiss cantons

Petrol prices in Switzerland are set to rise to heights not seen for well over a decade, with fuel to cost more than CHF2 per litre in some cantons.

Petrol costs are set to rise in Switzerland. Photo by Erik mclean from Unsplash
Petrol and diesel prices in Austria have hit a record high. Photo by Erik Mclean from Unsplash

On Monday, oil barrels crossed the $92 mark, which will soon result in higher costs at the pump for drivers. Experts expect the prices to continue to rise, with a $100 barrel of oil not out of the question. 

Touring Club Switzerland, the country’s motor authority, registers a current average of CHF1.87 for petrol and CHF1.91 for diesel fuel. 

However, due to rising crude oil costs as well as a variety of other factors, fuel costs are expected to top the 2008 highs of CHF1.99 for petrol and CHF2.27 for diesel. 

EXPLAINED: How does roadside assistance work in Switzerland?

Worldwide increases in inflation, the impact of the Covid pandemic, a slowdown in American oil production and geopolitical tensions have all contributed to the rise in prices. 

OPEC has agreed to increase production, however this is not expected to satisfy these concerns. 

There is likely to be little respite for cross-border workers or shoppers however, with Swiss fuel prices tending to be lower than those in the surrounding countries. 

This is primarily due to lower tax on fuel sold in Switzerland.

Can you save money on petrol in Switzerland, and if so, how?

Petrol distributors and stations compete with each other, which is good news for consumers.

RTS public broadcaster analysed petrol prices at various stations in several regions and found lowest prices at Rasthof Platenenhof station in Gampelen (BE).

READ MORE: Where in Switzerland can you find the cheapest fuel?

Another cheap fuelling option is a few kilometres away, at the Pit-Stop de Boudevilliers in Val-de-Ruz in canton Neuchâtel.

In fact, RTS reported that this whole region benefits from cheaper gasoline due to its proximity to the Cressier-Cornaux refinery and large volume of purchases.

Another low-cost location is in Samnaun, canton Graubünden in the region of Engiadina Bassa / Val Müstair.

The price there is 30 percent cheaper than on the notoriously expensive Lake Geneva region.

The reason for this price disparity is that this community of just over 700 inhabitants is a historic fiscal enclave that does not apply VAT or other taxes.

Other options include EK Automobile in Kestenholz, Solothurn and Tankstelle Fiechter in Teufenthal, Aargau.

But what if you don’t live in these areas?

You can still save some money on petrol if you do your research and know where the best (meaning: cheapest) places are to fuel up in your region.

Here are some tips:

Autoclub memberships often offer discounts on petrol. ACS members and TCS members can save between two and five cents per litre. 

Larger petrol retailers will also often have discount deals, while Swiss supermarkets also offer deals with particular gas station chains. 

Prices are usually the highest on (or close to) motorways, in or near large cities, and at branded chain stations. You can find better deals at smaller, independent stations away from main roads.

However, you should avoid going too far out of your way to save on fuel.  

“A one-cent difference on the price of the litre justifies a detour of  two to three kilometers, at most. Otherwise, the excess consumption drowns the economy on a 50-litre tank”, said TCS’s Erich Schwizer.

One useful website listing cheaper petrol options throughout Switzerland is this.

READ MORE: How can you save on your household energy bills in Switzerland

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For members


‘Apartment exchange’: How could Switzerland curb rent prices?

Depending on where in Switzerland you live, your rent may be exorbitantly high, but with the housing shortage in many parts of the country, simply moving into cheaper accommodations is not always an option. But a tenants group has proposed a solution.

'Apartment exchange': How could Switzerland curb rent prices?

Tenant advocacy groups and politicians have been looking at various ways to make housing more affordable to low and middle-income tenants.

Among solutions being currently proposed is to step up the construction of ‘public utility’ housing — that is, affordable flats that are built on publicly-owned land.

READ MORE: How can Switzerland solve its housing shortage and curb rents?

Another proposal is to ban the construction of second homes (or transforming primary residences into holiday accommodations) in areas suffering from housing shortage.

READ MORE: How do second homes contribute to Switzerland’s housing crisis?

These, by the way, are suggestions coming from left and center parties; right-wing groups, on the other hand, see limiting immigration as the best way to tackle the housing problem.

Another measure is now being put forth by the Swiss Tenants Association (ASLOCA).

In an interview he gave to Watson news platform on Tuesday, ASLOCA president Carlo Sommaruga said that exchanges of apartments among tenants would keep the rents down.

Sommaruga, who is also a socialist MP, has filed a motion to this effect in the parliament. Specifically, it allows tenants to exchange their dwellings among themselves — for instance, when moving from one region to another, or seeking a bigger (or smaller) apartments.

How exactly would this work?

Under the current system, when an old tenant leaves and a new one arrives, landlords have a right to increase rent if the reference rate — a benchmark used to set rents — has increased in the meantime.

For instance, if the old tenant’s contract is based on a 1.25 rate and it climbs (as it is expected to in June), then new tenants would have to pay a correspondingly higher rent.

Currently, 54 percent of rental contracts in Switzerland are based on that rate, but regionally the number is higher.

In the Zurich area, as well as in central Switzerland, for instance, more than 60 percent of rental contracts are based on a 1.25-percent reference rate, according to Moneyland consumer platform. 

If ASLOCA’s proposal goes through (it is not yet clear when it will be discussed), then the apartments could be swapped at the original rent, regardless of the rate.

Not surprisingly, “the landlords oppose” this measure, Sommaruga said. “They prefer classic terminations in order to be able to increase the rent for new leases, while the exchange results in maintaining rents at their original level.”

There would, however, be a downside to this arrangement.

Apartments would be swapped in ‘as is’ condition.

The landlord would not be responsible for making repairs or other works to the apartment that is being exchanged between tenants.

He or she would, however, approve the new tenants to make sure they are financially able to pay the rent.

Additionally, Sommaruga said that the new law, should it be enacted, would make each tenant in the swap responsible for the other paying their rent. “The tenants would mutually verify that the other is solvent, by communicating their income, lack of criminal record, etc.”

“The purpose of the motion is to get the law changed,” he added. “Modalities would be defined later. There could be just cause for refusing the exchange, The measure could also specify that these exchanges are only possible when there is a housing shortage.”