Slovaks rush to Hungary for cheap gas as ‘petrol tourism’ era ends

After the government in Budapest announced it will only allow cars with Hungarian license plates to buy petrol for capped prices at the country’s petrol stations, motorists from neighbouring Slovakia rushed across the border. Meanwhile, petrol station owners warn the regulation will be hard to implement, EURACTIVE reports.

The Hungarian government announced on Thursday (27 May) that from Friday, only cars with Hungarian registration plates will be allowed to fill up with petrol or diesel at the capped price of €1.22 (HUF 480) per litre, Telex reported.

In a decree published at 23:59 on Thursday evening, the executive clarified that motorists from countries where petrol prices are also regulated, and Hungarians are able to buy petrol there, will still be able to benefit from the price freeze in Hungary. This will likely extend the Hungarian price cap to motorists with Serbian and Slovenian registration plates. 

Shortly after the announcement, Gábor Egri, president of the Independent Petrol Stations Association, called the government’s decision impossible and unfeasible, HVG.hu reported.

Meanwhile, Antal Rogán, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, said on Thursday he expected there will be “a discussion with the EU” about the new rules, according to Portfolio.hu.

At half an hour before midnight, cars with Slovak plates queued up for petrol in Hungary at several petrol stations alongside the border, Telex reported.

Residents of Romania were similarly disappointed.

“We used to go weekly to the closest town to the border to fill the tank and it was quite a good deal”, one resident of Arad, a Romanian city 21 kilometres from the Hungarian border, told EURACTIV.

Tags: oil, gasoline, diesel

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