PETROL STATIONS near the Spanish border are hitting harder times than ever. This is due to the price difference in petrol between Portugal and Spain (unleaded 95 is around 20 cents cheaper in Spain) and, worse still, the six-euro difference in price for a gas bottle.
In the bordering Portuguese towns of Valença, Chaves, Miranda do Douro, Elvas and Vila Real de Santo António, more and more people are buying their petrol and gas over the frontier. “Looking at the fall in sales, which has been registered over the past six months, we can guarantee that there are more than 70,000 families buying their fuel in Spain,” commented António Saleiro, one of the biggest fuel distributors in northern Portugal, in an interview with Correio da Manhã newspaper. The president of the Associação Nacional dos Revendedores (ANAREC), the national association for franchise owners, said that this is not even the real figure, inferring that it could be much higher. “Due to the difference in prices, which are based on tax levels, families and the Portuguese government are suffering enormously,” he said.
If each one of these 70,000 families uses an average of four gas bottles per month (each bottle costs 10.16 euros in Spain), more than 34 million euros are being spent by the Portuguese in Spain, only through the purchase of gas. “If we add the gas to the petrol, the amount is much higher. So, we can easily conclude that the Portuguese government would gain much more money from bringing down taxes on fuel,” points out Saleiro.
The president of ANAREC says that the situation, in many cases, is dramatic and announced that the issue of the fuel run to Spain will be the central theme of the ANAREC congress in January next year in Estoril.