EU gasoline prices are on the rise, and almost all economic areas on the continent are affected. The price of gasoline has such a far-reaching effect on the economy in part because the transportation of goods relies heavily on fuel. The more it costs to transport goods, the more those goods will end up costing the consumer.
It’s a delicate time for European economies during the post-pandemic recovery, and current inflation and increasing petrol prices in Europe are causing some additional stress.
Gas Prices in Europe (EU, December 2024) – Interactive Map:
The price of petrol is significantly higher in almost every European country than it was one year ago. Malta, whose petrol prices are the same as they were at this time last year, is the only country whose price per liter has not increased.
Consumer prices for petroleum products in EU countries
Below is a table describing the petrol price per liter in each EU country:
As you can see in this table, no country currently offers Euro-super 95 at a price of less than €1.32/liter (Bulgaria), and gas is most expensive in Bulgaria (€1.98).
Why Gasoline prices increased so much?
There are several reasons the gas price in Europe is rising. Changing politics as well as supply and demand fluctuations all have an impact on the cost of fuel.
It’s helpful to know that high gas prices are caused by high crude oil prices. This is because oil costs account for 72 percent of the price of gasoline. The remaining 28 percent comes from distribution, refining, and taxation. This is why you can expect to see a similar increase at the gas pump about six weeks after oil prices rise.
As with all other commodities, gas and oil prices are affected by supply and demand. There is a great demand for fuel in Europe, which means that any changes in the supply can mean significant changes in price.
Another element that impacts oil and natural gas prices is seasonal demand. Heating requirements during colder months make for a much higher demand for gas during winter in Europe, which usually causes prices to rise every fall.
During the time period from March to June 2022, oil prices have been the highest since 2008. This is largely due to supply shortages caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Many countries are also refusing to use Russian-supplied oil, which impacts the price of crude oil from other sources.
These elevated oil prices directly translate to higher consumer prices of petrol products.
Year-on-Year Changes in EU-Average Petrol Prices as of February 2024
Based on the updated data for February 2024, here is a revised analysis of petrol price trends in the European Union:
Significant Increases: Among EU countries, the ones with the most notable year-over-year (YoY) increases in petrol prices from December 2023 to January 2024 are as follows:
- Slovenia: +10.52%
- Romania: +7.99%
- Bulgaria: +6.98%
- Croatia: +6.17%
- Slovakia: +7.74%
These figures reflect substantial growth in petrol prices, highlighting Slovenia, Romania, and Bulgaria as the top three with the highest YoY increases.
Noteworthy Decreases: Contrarily, a few countries have seen a decline in petrol prices over the same period:
- Sweden: -8.28%
- Finland: -7.85%
- Cyprus: -4.91%
- Belgium: -3.97%
- Estonia: -3.43%
Sweden and Finland lead with the most significant decreases, indicating a notable divergence in petrol price trends within the EU.
Stability: Malta showed no change (0%), indicating a stable petrol price over the year.
EU-Average Price: The EU-average petrol price experienced a modest increase of approximately +1.71% from December 2023 to January 2024. This increment is slightly higher than previously reported, suggesting a general but mild upward trend in petrol prices across the European Union.
Analysis: The updated data reveals a mixed picture of petrol price trends within the EU, with several countries experiencing significant increases, while others have seen notable decreases. The overall EU average points to a modest rise in petrol prices. The disparities in petrol price changes across different countries could be influenced by a variety of factors, including changes in national taxation policies, fluctuations in global oil prices, and specific economic conditions within each country.
What can we do to prevent price increases?
Believe it or not, there are some actionable steps we can take to make higher gas prices easier to deal with. They mostly involve finding ways to reduce the consumption of petrol products. As well as easing the impact of rising prices on your wallet, these methods enjoy the additional benefit of having a positive impact on the environment.
Perhaps the most obvious way to reduce gas consumption is to simply drive less, especially when traveling alone. Using public transportation options like trains, buses, trams, and subways are ways to decrease the amount of gas you rely on. These modes of transport are much more sustainable because the cost of fuel per person is dramatically reduced when compared to personal vehicles. Carpooling is another option for decreasing the amount of fuel required to transport each person.
Of course, an even more fuel-efficient way to travel is by walking or bicycle when weather permits.
For various reasons, using public transport every day isn’t always possible. Fortunately, there are ways to improve the fuel efficiency of your vehicle that can save you money and reduce the amount of emissions it releases into the atmosphere. One of the best ways to improve fuel efficiency is free: check your vehicle’s tire pressure frequently to keep it at the recommended PSI. This keeps your car moving efficiently and requires less fuel.
Other driving-related tips are to maintain steady driving speeds, reduce time spent idling, and to take unnecessary items out of your vehicle. Moving extra weight in your vehicle means using extra fuel.
You might also consider switching to an electric vehicle if driving is a necessary part of your life. These vehicles have been proven to be about 66% cheaper to operate.
These tips do more than ease the financial impact of increased petrol prices. By reducing the amount of fuel we consume, we can directly reduce the amount of emissions released into the atmosphere, making for cleaner air in our communities. Driving less also means less traffic on the roads and less noise pollution.
Below is a map of fuel prices in Europe from 5 years back (2017):
Below is a map of fuel prices in Europe from 2021:
Will Petrol Prices in Europe Continue to Rise in 2024?
Given the historical data and current events up to January 2024, the prediction for petrol prices in Europe for the year 2024 requires considering several key factors:
- Geopolitical Context: The ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the European Union’s reduced reliance on Russian oil imports have previously contributed to increased fuel prices. If these geopolitical tensions persist or escalate, they could continue to impact global oil supply and prices.
- Supply Chain and Global Market Dynamics: The global oil market is sensitive to supply chain disruptions and geopolitical events. Any new disruptions or stabilizations in oil-producing regions could influence petrol prices.
- EU Energy Policy Shifts: The EU’s efforts to diversify its energy sources and reduce reliance on imported oil, particularly from Russia, may continue. Increased investment in renewable energy and alternative fuels can reduce dependence on oil imports, potentially stabilizing petrol prices in the long run.
- Economic Factors: Inflation rates, economic recovery post-pandemic, and consumer demand will play significant roles in determining petrol prices. Economic slowdowns generally lead to decreased demand for oil, which can lower prices.
- Environmental Policies and Consumer Behavior: The EU’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainability could lead to policies that discourage petrol use. A shift towards electric vehicles and public transportation, as well as individual efforts to reduce fuel consumption, can decrease demand for petrol.
- Technological Advances: Developments in renewable energy technologies and more efficient energy storage solutions can reduce reliance on petrol, impacting its demand and price.
Considering these factors, the prediction for 2024 is that petrol prices in Europe may continue to experience volatility. While geopolitical tensions and supply chain disruptions could drive prices up, the EU’s efforts in diversifying energy sources, embracing sustainability, and technological advancements in renewable energy could contribute to stabilizing or even lowering petrol prices in the longer term. However, the exact trajectory will depend heavily on how these complex and interrelated factors play out over the year.