Longest day at Europe's busiest gas station

Soaring global fuel prices have not deterred thousands of motorists and truck drivers from refueling at the Shell station in Berchem, southern Luxembourg, on the A3 motorway where traffic is very dense.

Longest day at Europe's busiest gas station

Soaring global fuel prices have not deterred thousands of motorists and truck drivers from refueling at the Shell station in Berchem, southern Luxembourg, on the A3 motorway where traffic is very dense.

The Grand Duchy may be small, but it's a crossroads between Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, located on the road that leads south to the beaches of France, Italy and Spain. .

And - a crucial point in this summer of sharp price increases - fuel is considered cheap, which makes it a favorite place for truckers making long journeys as well as for families watching their expenses.

Even outside of the summer crowds, motorists and cross-border workers from France and Germany often fill up in Luxembourg.

When a family's final destination is on the shores of the Mediterranean and a full tank of fuel costs over 100 euros (dollars), the savings are there.

On Saturday, two 40,000 liter tankers were about to make between 16 and 20 round trips a day to operate the petrol and diesel pumps at the Berchem station filled with motorhomes.

- Un budget colossal - 

At the beginning of the year, Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the supply difficulties following the coronavirus pandemic caused fuel prices to skyrocket...as did the profits of the major oil companies.

Global oil prices and retail gasoline prices began to ebb and governments began to subsidize rebates in the face of discontent from motorists.

France, for example, has already lowered the price at the pump by 18 cents and the rebate will reach 30 cents in September, while Belgium reduced taxes by 17.50 cents per liter in March.

In Luxembourg, the reduction was only 7.50 centimes in April, and it is unclear whether the authorities will extend it until the end of August.

For the time being, the Grand Duchy nevertheless remains advantageous.

On Saturday, AFP paid 1.79 euros per liter of petrol in Brussels and fuel price monitoring websites assessed the average Belgian price at 1.867 euros per litre.

But Berchem motorists, stuck in queues with other drivers from half of Europe and truckers from Cyprus, Ireland and Poland, pay just 1,636 euros.

"It's thanks to the location which is perfect, in the middle of Europe. The advantageous fuel prices also make the difference", explains Daniel Calderon, the boss of the service station.

He found that motorists who rushed there on Saturday were mostly “in good spirits”, thanks to the “holiday spirit” which reigns after two years of travel restrictions linked to the pandemic.

"We also take advantage of it by returning via Luxembourg to fill up, which is always a little cheaper. And we even notice that it is even cheaper than when we left. It's rather good news", says Christian , a Belgian tourist.

"When you live in a village, for example, like me, you have no other means of transport than the car and it has become a colossal budget", laments Marie-Jo, a Frenchwoman.

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