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


REVEALED : Are ‘discount’ supermarkets in Switzerland really cheaper?

Lidl, Aldi and Denner claim their prices beat those of large Swiss retailers. But is this really the case?

REVEALED : Are ‘discount’ supermarkets in Switzerland really cheaper?

Common consumer goods (except one) are typically more expensive in Switzerland than in neighbour countries — sometimes by much.

This includes food.

READ ALSO: Why Switzerland is the most expensive country in Europe

That is especially the case of largest Swiss chains, Migros and Coop, while Denner, Lidl, and Aldi say their food prices are significantly lower.

To find out whether this claim is actually true, journalists from RTS public broadcaster’s consumer programme went shopping in each of these supermarkets. 

They purchased the same 30 products in each of the five supermarkets on the same day, to ensure that the price comparison is as accurate as possible.

Not what you’d expect

In each of the stores, the investigators purchased only the lowest priced items from the supermarkets’ budget lines.

It turned out that most money was spent at Denner, widely considered to be one of the lowest-priced supermarkets.

The total for the 30 items came to 181.67 francs — more than was spent at the country’s more expensive stores, Migros and Coop, where identical basket of goods cost 170.37 and 167.82 francs, respectively.

(That, in itself, is surprising as well, because Migros typically has lower prices than Coop).

As for the other two supermarkets, these purchases cost 166.59 francs at Aldi and 162.05 at Lidl.

So the difference in price between Migros and Coop versus Aldi and Lidl is minimal. But what is even more surprising is that the cost of groceries at ‘cheap’ Denner is actually highest of the lot, by between 11 and nearly 20 francs.

Migros and Coop performed quite well in the comparison survey because most of the items purchased in those stores came from their budget lines, M-Budget and Prix-Garantie, respectively, both of which were introduced to compete with Aldi and Lidl.

But how important is price? Patrick Krauskopf, a professor of anti-trust law, told RTS: “German, French, English, Spanish and American consumers pay a lot of attention to price. In Switzerland, consumers place more emphasis on quality of service. Price is almost secondary.

“Distributors have realised this and have stopped competing fiercely on price.”

Big versus small

While this particular analysis focused on supermarket chains, another survey, conducted at the end of 2023, looked at prices in small grocery shops. 

Common logic has it that it is cheaper to shop in supermarkets than a local corner store, because big retailers purchase products in large quantities, which means lower prices for consumers.

However, prices in some local shops were found to be “up to 30 percent cheaper than Migros and Coop.” 

The reason is that in order to cut costs, small grocers may buy their products from the most cost-effective suppliers, a tactic which includes importing some items.

Another reason for lower prices is that unlike major supermarkets, which ‘pretty up’ their stores for better presentation of products, these small retailers are ‘no-frill’ shops. This means little money is invested in décor, so there are no extra costs to pass on to consumers.

 READ ALSO: Why it might be cheaper to avoid the big supermarkets in Switzerland