fuel surgePump tourism is in full swing on the French-Swiss border
Visitor numbers at a petrol station in the French Alps more than doubled in the past week, with a large Swiss clientele drawn by the prospect of a full sale.
“I didn’t expect that there would be so many people and that we would have to queue at the side of the road,” wonders Blendi Bllaca, who drives a black coupé with Geneva plates, as he watches the cars piled up at the side of the road, French side.
Since last week, the eight pumps at this station Total Energies The town of Annemasse in the French Alps, about a fifteen-minute drive from the border, is stormed from dawn to dusk. Visitor numbers there have more than doubled, now reaching 1,700 people daily, including a large Swiss clientele drawn by the prospect of a full sale.
Alexandre Macaire, 45, used his shopping in France – where groceries are cheaper – to fill up quickly. “It was really close so I took the opportunity to save some money at the pump.” “We used to be able to have two to four out of ten cars from Switzerland. Now we have four to five out of ten Swiss cars, »says station employee Shana Drut to AFP.
With the latest government and TotalEnergies rebates on fuel coming into effect, all customers of the French petroleum giant will benefit from a 38 cent per liter reduction until October 1st. Welcome savings for Swiss drivers, included the government not yet considered it necessary to take measures to support purchasing power in a relatively inflation-free country is limited to 3.4% yoy in Julycompared to 6.1% in France.
They also benefit from a historically low exchange rate: After reaching parity in the summer, the European currency has settled permanently below the Swiss franc, with one euro now trading at CHF 0.97.
“Storm in a Can”
This double discount makes “50 to 70 centimes (per liter) compared to Switzerland”, calculates Michel Santos, 41-year-old from Geneva, so a “nice difference”, between 30 and 40 Swiss francs (between 30.9 and 41. 2 euros). ) for a full tank. Because a liter of unleaded costs only EUR 1.38 at this station, a few kilometers further, on the other side of customs, it actually costs EUR 2.17.
Which reignites the border tensions that are always present in a region with many French border workers. “We must not help the rich, we must not help our Swiss friends. It is absolutely necessary that we help the French who need it the most,” declared Haute-Savoie Senator Loïc Hervé (right) in early August.
A “thunderstorm in the petrol canister,” replied Mauro Poggia, Councilor of State (executive) of the canton of Geneva, a few days later. “For decades (…) all cross-border commuters came to Switzerland to fill up and not to France because it was cheaper,” he recalled, because the Helvetii taxed less on fuel.
Faced with this influx of customers, the Annemasse service station is now refueling every day, compared to every other day, and is preparing precautions. “We’re looking for staff to have someone” who “serves diesel or petrol,” explains Shana Drut. “With the number of visitors and the occasional theft,” she adds, “we can’t handle everything.”
A situation that will not improve: this weekend, on the occasion of the Jeûne Genevois bridge, the resort is preparing for its biggest audience of the year.
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