Life is getting more expensive in Spain. There’s the exorbitant electricity prices currently, pushing the cost of other daily products up, and now Spain has rising petrol prices too.
Petrol is now €0.28 more expensive than at this point in 2020, while diesel has risen by €0.26.
The average price at the pump in Spain is now €1.49 for petrol/gasoline and €1.36 for diesel, but this varies a lot between service stations and regions.
What determines the price of fuel?
The international price per barrel affects the cost of fuel around the globe, but that is only part of it.
Every petrol station franchise has other expenses such as production, distribution and marketing costs, which include wholesaler and retailer margins. This may be what makes smaller franchise fuel stations cheaper than big national chains.
The price is also affected by taxes and other associated costs, such as the maintenance of strategic reserves and the contribution to the National Energy Efficiency Fund.
In Spain, liquid fuels derived from petroleum are subject to two taxes: VAT and the Special Tax on Hydrocarbons (IEH).
So where are the cheapest places to fill up?
Spain’s main consumer watchdog OCU carries out a comparative study on gas station prices every year. This year, the prices of more than 10,000 service stations were analysed in Spain between the months of February and May, giving an average price index for each gas station. Choosing the cheapest place to buy your fuel can save you up to €250 per year.
BonÀrea, GM Oil, Gas Expres, Petroprix and E. Lecrerc service station chains proved to be the cheapest places to fill up, while Cepsa, Repsol, BP and IDS were the most expensive.
Fill up locally
The most expensive places to fill up are the ones that have the most service stations and are more prevalent throughout the whole country, while those with the lowest prices tend to be budget regional or supermarket chains, with less presence on motorways.
The average price of gas stations located on the main roads or highways is usually higher than the rest.
The OCU estimates a difference of between two and three percent in the case of diesel and between 1.5 percent and 2.5 percent in the case of gasoline or petrol between those on the motorways and those in towns. This means that if you want to save on fuel, it’s best to fill up in your local town before you hit the road.
Prices vary from region to region
The OCU also observed important regional differences. It is well known that it is cheaper to refuel in the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla because of the lower tax rates on fuel there, but there are several other mainland regions where you can also fill up for less.
Almería, Lleida, Murcia, Valencia, Teruel, Zaragoza, Huesca, Soria and Navarra are the cheapest provinces to buy fuel, while the Balearic Islands, Madrid and Guipúzcoa are the most expensive.
Gas stations with the lowest prices tend to be in agricultural areas and smaller cities next to large cities, but it is difficult to find them because only one in six has low price levels compared to the average.
In some small cities like Pontevedra, Huelva, Ourense, Oviedo or Teruel the differences are tiny. In Valencia and Madrid, the percentage of gas stations with low prices is also very small.
Research ahead of time
To find out which are the cheapest places to fill up, you can consult the website Geoportalgasolineras, from the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism.
This online page allows you to research ahead of time so you know where it’s cheaper to refuel according to your city or region. It publishes updated prices and also allows you to filter the results by type of fuel.
The OCU also has a search engine for cheaper places to fill up in your area, available here.
Keep an eye out for the section with a list of all existing discount plans too.
Gasolinera – gas or petrol station
El carburante – fuel (petrol/gas and diesel)
Gasolina – petrol/gas
Diésel – diesel
Gasolina sin plomo – unleaded petrol