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MONEY

Spanish fuel prices fall again to lowest point since May

Good news for drivers: Petrol and diesel prices in Spain have fallen again and are now under €2 per litre with the government's 20 cent discount. Here are some tips on how to find the best prices in your region.

Spanish fuel prices fall again to lowest point since May
Photo: Pixabay

There has been a lot of economic doom and gloom across Europe in recent months, especially in Spain, where inflation has reached a 37-year high and prices ranging from eggs and olive oil to utilities bills have all skyrocketed. 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shocked already volatile fuel markets, and petrol and diesel prices have spiked across the world as a result.

Fortunately, however, petrol prices in Spain have fallen for a fourth consecutive week, and diesel for a third. With the 20 cent government discount offered on fuel prices – a measure aimed to soften the blow of crippling inflation and rising fuel prices – prices are now back under the €2 per litre threshold but still close to record highs.

READ ALSO: Spanish fuel prices fall slightly but still hover above €2 a litre

Petrol prices fell by 2.5 percent in the last week, while diesel has dropped by 2.8 percent compared to last week.

Without the government discount, the price of petrol stands at €2.026 a litre and diesel remains below €2 at €1.971 according to data from the European Union Oil Bulletin.

With the government discount included, on Thursday 21st July petrol was on average €1.826 per litre – the cheapest price since the last week of May .

On July 21st diesel was sold on average at €1,771 per litre, a drop of 5 cents on last week.

Petrol prices have increased by 23 percent since the beginning of the year, and diesel by 31 percent.

READ ALSO: REMINDER: How drivers in Spain can get 20 euro cents off every litre of fuel

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.

The reasons for the price increase are varied. One is the increase in demand due to the economic recovery after the pandemic, but there is also an increase in the price of a barrel of oil, as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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).

How to find the cheapest petrol stations?

Prices vary from region to region and area to area, so how do you know where to find the cheapest place to fill up? 

Google Maps

One of the best ways to find the cheapest place is in fact via Google Maps, where you can find the up to date prices for each station. It works both on the mobile app and a computer. First, click on the Petrol Station or Gasolinera button, which appears below or next to the search bar. This will generate a map of all the petrol stations and their prices closest to you. You can also change the search area, if you want to check the prices somewhere else. 

Keep in mind that not all petrol stations will display prices. If you want to find out the prices of different types of petrol, as well as diesel at a particular petrol station, simply click on it and it will give a list of the types it offers and the prices. 

Other websites 

There are several other websites that work in a similar way to Google Maps, including elpreciodelagasolina.com and dieselogasolina.com. You simply type in or find your region and the sites will produce a map, along with a list of the cheapest petrol stations near you. 

You can also 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. 

Apps 

Apps such as GasAll and Gasolineras España are also good options, which detail the prices of petrol near you and allow you to compare the price of different types. 

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.

Spanish vocabulary:

La gasolinera – gas or petrol station

El carburante – fuel (petrol/gas and diesel)

La gasolina  – petrol/gas

El diésel – diesel

Gasolina sin plomo – unleaded petrol

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MONEY

Rising inflation in Spain: Six cost-cutting ways to fight it

With everything from food to electricity becoming more expensive, people in Spain will spend on average €1,100 more on daily costs in 2022 than the previous year. Here are some top tips for tightening your belt as inflation bites.

Rising inflation in Spain: Six cost-cutting ways to fight it

Rising inflation is a problem affecting economies the world over. Economists and politicians are proposing ways to slow inflation, to cut taxes, and to soften the impact on consumers.

In Spain, things are no different.

In late July, Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE) reported that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) – the index used to measure inflation – rose by 10.8 percent in July, up from 10.2 percent in June and the fastest rate since September 1984, a 38 year high.

READ ALSO: Spain’s July inflation rate reaches new 38-year high

The prices of anything and everything from fruit and eggs to olive oil and petrol have jumped up, and the increases have been particularly pronounced in fuel and utility costs due to the double-pronged pressures of inflation combined with global fuel prices rising as a byproduct of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Electricity costs have been reaching historic highs over the past year, with prices on Wednesday, July 20th, 124 percent higher than the same time in 2021, according to recent data from OMIE, operator of the Iberian energy market.

According to a survey by Sigma Dos, 43 percent of Spaniards have been forced to cancel, shorten, or change their holiday plans for the months of July and August.

And then, on top of all that, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced last week that it is raising interest rates at the end of July, in order to try and slow inflation, which will have a direct impact on consumers paying back loans and mortgages.

READ ALSO: How will rising interest rates affect my life in Spain?

According to the Family Budget Survey (EPF) conducted by the INE, the average Spanish family’s spending on food has increased by €620 year-on-year.

All in all, the perfect storm of pressures of family budgets has hit hard in Spain.

That in mind, The Local has put together a list of tips to help you fight inflation and save some money in Spain this summer.

1. Natural light

Spain is well known as one of the sunniest countries on the planet. Not only does its roughly 15 hours of light a day make it hot during the summer, but it also means there’s an abundance of natural light.

With electricity bills through the roof, an easy way to save on energy is to keep the lights off during the day and take advantage of the light by keeping curtains and blinds open.

It’s worth remembering, of course, that many properties in Spain are built to withstand the scorching summer temperatures, and, as a result, may have rooms that are dark and gloomy in order to keep the temperature down.

Though that’s good for the heat, it’s not ideal for energy savings.

If that’s the case, and you really need to put the lights on during the day, consider switching to LED bulbs, since they can save as much as 80 percent on the bill compared to traditional bulbs, and they last much longer – years longer, in some cases.

2. Regulate the aircon 

Keeping the curtains and blinds open may be good for saving on electricity bills, but what about the heat?

With Spain in the midst of record-breaking summer heatwaves, during the hottest months Spaniards are dependent on their fans and air-conditioner units.

Regulating your use of air-con can help you save on bills. The ideal temperature should be between 24C and 26C and remember that for each degrees you drop the temperature, the energy output goes up by around 8 percent.

READ ALSO: Ceiling fan vs air con in Spain: Which offers the better price-coolness ratio

At night, many Spaniards opt to open the windows and keep the room ventilated as opposed to falling asleep with the aircon or fan on and racking up the bill.

READ ALSO: Spain to cut electricity tax by half to ease inflation pain

3. Shop around

An age old saving trick: shop around. 

Food prices in Spain have jumped over the course of 2022.

According to INE figures, in June the prices of 46 household products were more expensive and above the overall CPI rate of 10.2 percent.

These include eggs (23.9 percent more expensive); butter (23.1 percent); whole milk (21.1 percent); fresh fruit (19.3 percent); baby food (16.7 percent), poultry meat (14.1 percent), bread (13.9 percent); beef (13.1 percent) and or cheese (10.5 percent).

Being more creative with your shopping can help save on prices.

Fruit and veg shops (fruterías) are often far cheaper per kilo than the chain supermarkets, as are discount shops like Lidl and other local supermarkets. Consider going to the butcher (la carnicería) to save on meat.

Before going shopping, look online and compare prices between the different supermarkets. Make a list, and consider going for the supermarket’s line of own-brand products as opposed to more expensive brands.

As a famous British supermarket chain always reminds us – every little helps

4. Loyalty cards

That in mind, another way to soften the impact of inflation is to take advantage of promotional offers and loyalty cards. Spanish supermarkets often have 2×1 or 3×2 promotions, discounts, and savings when buying in bulk – particularly on dairy and poultry products. 

Consider getting loyalty cards at your local supermarket to make savings, and even at clothing stores, hairdressers and restaurants if they offer them. Loyalty cards not only offer discounts; you can often accrue a free service or product – shopping delivery, haircut, meal – by giving them repeat business.

5. Washing machine – know the peak and off-peak hours

With electricity bills historically high, Spain suffering heatwaves throughout the summer, and all this talk of fans and air-conditioning and keeping rooms ventilated, knowing the peak and off-peak electricity tariffs in Spain is an essential way to make savings and help right inflation.

The washing machine is well known as an appliance that uses a lot of electricity and takes a long time. With bills skyrocketing, and the price of electricity on the wholesale market exceeding €200 per megawatt hour (MWh), rising to €300/MWh during peak hours of the day, many Spaniards have taken to using their washing machines at times of the day that offer the cheaper tariffs.

READ ALSO: Inflation hack: what time should I use the washing machine in Spain?

From Monday to Friday, the cheapest time to use the washing machine is during the flat and off-peak slots. It may not be ideal, but by putting the washing machine on during the night, from 00:00 to 8:00 (off-peak), or in the morning, from 8:00 to 10:00 (flat), the kWh price can be significantly lower than during peak hour.

Similarly, another good time to use the washing machine, and perhaps the most convenient without being too costly, is after lunch from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m during another flat-rate session.

Fortunately, weekends and holidays correspond uninterruptedly with the off-peak time slot and there is, as a result, very little variation in prices depending on the time of day you use the machine, so you can wash your clothes at the weekend with worrying about racking up a huge bill.

Peak and off-peak times: 

Horas punta – peak hours (most expensive): 10-14:00h and 18-22:00h on weekdays.

Horas valle – off-peak (cheapest): 00-8:00h on weekdays; 24h on weekends and national holidays.

Horas llana flat rate (intermediate tariff): From 8-10h14-18h and 22-24h on weekdays.

6. Electronic devices

Although the pandemic jump started the working from home trend (teletrabajo in Spanish) and has many advantages, in the context of record-high inflation and utilities bills, it also has its negatives, like increased bills because you’re continuously using electrical devices such as computers.

If you work from home, consider using LCD screens – which save, on average, up to 37 percent more energy than normal screens – and try not to leave devices on standby.

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