Economy & Politics

Double-braked fuel pump sales

Gas station attendants have seen their gasoline and diesel sales drop due to health restrictions. But as covid measures ease and activity picks up, resorts across the country are picking up less strongly than in neighboring countries. The CO2 tax would not be unrelated to this weaker momentum.

Marie DEDEBAN

Marie DEDEBAN

Gas station attendants have seen their gasoline and diesel sales drop due to health restrictions. But as covid measures ease and activity picks up, resorts across the country are picking up less strongly than in neighboring countries. The CO2 tax would not be unrelated to this weaker momentum.

If the price of fuel has risen in the towers in recent months, Luxembourg pump attendants are sticking their tongue out. Indeed, according to a Statec study published on Wednesday, gasoline and diesel sales in the country’s 238 service stations are slowed down compared to those in Belgian or even French stations.


16.10.2018 Luxembourg, city, Tanken, Tanktourismus, Benzin, Diesel, pollution, Umwelt, Neue Aufkleber, Bezeichnung B7 and E5, Auto, Autos, Schmutz, Verbot photo Anouk Antony

Since the start of the year, not a week in which gas stations have not been forced to revise their prices upwards. Pre-crisis covid prices will soon reappear at the pump.


And the first of these brakes is, not surprisingly, the covid. Due to teleworking, travel restrictions and the confinement of some of their customers, pump attendants first had to downgrade their orders. A covid effect also observed elsewhere in the Greater Region, but which has another impact in Luxembourg. “Three quarters of the fuel is sold to non-residents,” said Jill Schaul, quantitative analyst at Statec.

Reduction in tourism at the pump and teleworking have thus generated a drop in the volumes of fuels distributed “by 20% compared to 2019”, according to Jean-Marc Zahlen, secretary general of the Luxembourg Petroleum Group.

The gradual relaxation of sanitary measures should have generated “a rebound in imports and sales” of fuels throughout the Greater Region, notes Jill Schaul. However, if an increase in fuel deliveries is observed in Luxembourg, it remains less compared to France or Belgium. In other words, the deconfinements in early May only had a moderate impact on gasoline and diesel sales in the Grand Duchy.

According to Statec, the second brake on the sale of fuel is linked to the CO2 tax. Introduced last January, this carbon tax is starting to have repercussions both on prices at the pump and on the volumes of fuel distributed in the Grand Duchy. A “predictable” effect although its impact “cannot yet be precisely measured”, notes Jill Schaul.

The expert indicates that the CO2 tax has “reduced the price differential at the pump until now much more favorable in Luxembourg”. If it remains, according to her, “substantial for individuals” (between 15 and 28 centimes), the advantage is reconsidered by the transit drivers.

Luxembourg diesel prices for professionals are “around five cents above Belgian prices,” says the Statec analyst. However, transport professionals are very sensitive to price variations in their choice of route. “What we can assume is that truckers are already looking to Belgium to refuel, since no carbon tax is reflected there on the price at the pump,” explains Jill Schaul.

As a reminder, the carbon tax was introduced on January 1, 2021 in Luxembourg. The goal: to encourage individuals or road professionals to consume less fossil fuels. And this so that Luxembourg can achieve its ambition to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030.


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