How European road transport deals with rising fuel prices

The conflict in Ukraine has led to an increase in the cost of diesel which directly affects the transport sector, forcing it to take measures to alleviate the high costs.

The price of oil, and therefore of fuels, is one of the main concerns for the road transport sector. This issue has recently become more relevant due to the high increase in both diesel and gasoline prices, mainly because of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the upheavals it is causing in all areas.

In many European countries, fuel is already comfortably exceeding two euros per liter. A rise that affects truck drivers the most, but also has repercussions beyond the logistics sector. The increase in the cost of transporting goods is reflected in turn in the price that consumers must pay for the meat, milk, or bread they buy at the supermarket. It is echoed, therefore, throughout the entire distribution chain.

In an increasingly uncertain international situation, different administrations are taking decisions to alleviate the high costs of fuel being faced by transport professionals. In some cases, these range from direct discounts to lower taxes, although the measures vary from country to country.


European countries’ measures against rising fuel prices

While waiting for a common decision in the European Union, each nation has decided to implement its own measures.

  • France: The Executive of Emmanuel Macron has chosen to decrease by 15 cents the price of all fuels for four months from April 1. For some professionals, such as fishermen, the reduction will be even greater, up to 35 cents per liter. A "reduction" that, according to estimates, will have an impact of 2.8 billion euros.
  • Italy: The oil companies have already agreed to lower prices between five and seven cents per liter. In this sense, it is expected that the Government of that country will take a definitive measure on the cheapening of fuels through the reduction of excise taxes, which would imply, according to the first information, a reduction of between 15 and 20 cents per liter for two or three months.
  • Portugal: The Government has launched a voucher program that will directly reimburse consumers up to a maximum of 20 euros on their fuel consumption, to which more than two million people have already signed up. In addition, it will adjust the Petroleum Products Tax (PSI) weekly and freeze the carbon tax until at least June 30. Portugal has also approved a bonus of up to 30 cents per liter of diesel to transport vehicles of up to 35 tons with a monthly limit, which is reduced to 20 cents per liter in the case of trucks of greater tonnage.
  • Spain: The government will subsidize carriers with 20 cents per liter or a kilo of fuel, of which 15 cents will come from the public budget and 5 cents will be borne by the operators of petroleum product and will be applied to diesel, gasoline, gas, and AdBlue.
  • Germany: The government will cut the tax on fuel for three months by 30 euro cents ($0.33) for gasoline and 14 cents for diesel.
  • Poland: A reduction in VAT on fuel from 23% to 8% has been approved despite having one of the lowest fuel prices.


High gas prices as an opportunity for more sustainable transport

This new "oil crisis" once again highlights the need to move towards a more sustainable future in the transport sector, in which there is less dependence on fossil fuels. In fact, even before recent increases, European authorities were already acting to create efficient infrastructures to facilitate the internal market and geographical, economic, and social cohesion. Factors that serve as the basis for moving towards a transport system that is "greener, digitized, resilient, fair and competitive."

Once this crisis, which will probably not be the last, has been resolved, it is the next scenario to be considered. In the meantime, the fuel costs would be less serious if gouvernantes start to take measures from this moment on.