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Motoring on the Continent Report

If you’re driving in Europe this year, Andorra’s your best bet for the cheapest fuel. That’s according to our latest report on fuel prices in the continent’s holiday destinations.

A third of UK holidaymakers driving on the continent this year plan to take their own car or hire a vehicle. But, with fuel costs on the up and new driving regulations in force in many countries, it pays to know where to get the best value and how to avoid costly fines.

father and daughter packing things in their car for a trip

The Motoring on the Continent Report from Post Office Travel Money looks at the average prices at fuel pumps in destinations across Europe.

The 2023 report – our first since before the Covid pandemic – comes as a third of people who told us they’re visiting Europe said they intend to drive their own car or hire a rental vehicle1 while there. 

To help equip UK motorists with money-saving insights on the cheapest places to fill up, we surveyed pump prices in 17 European destinations. And we’ve shared the key findings here. 

Key findings this year include:

  • Despite the strong pound, pump prices have risen since 2019 in almost 90% of countries2
  • Andorra, Ireland and Spain offer the best value for money to UK holidaymakers filling up
  • France, Spain and Italy are top choices for holiday motoring3
  • But France and Italy are also among the more expensive destinations surveyed 
  • The biggest price rises have been in Switzerland, with both fuel types up by over 30% vs 2019 
  • Over 40% of holiday motorists don’t know about new rules of the road in top destinations

Where will your money take you furthest?

Drivers in Spain are likely to fare best. The research found the average price per litre there was £1.40 for unleaded petrol, 4p lower than the UK, and diesel was £1.25 per litre, 21p less than at home. Both fuels were the cheapest overall in Andorra, at £1.23 for unleaded and £1.10 for diesel. 

The more expensive destinations include France, at £1.62 for unleaded and £1.47 for diesel, and Italy, where unleaded costs £1.62 and diesel £1.49 per litre. The biggest percentage rise is in Switzerland, up by over 30% on 2019’s prices for both fuel types. 

Closer to home, Ireland emerges from the pump price comparison as one of the cheapest places to fill up with unleaded petrol – £1.38 per litre/£209.79 for 1,000 motoring miles. It’s also one of 14 countries where motorists driving a diesel car will pay considerably less than for unleaded.

Don’t forget your euros and any other currencies you’ll need

Best value motoring on the continent

Here’s a breakdown of the pump costs for unleaded petrol and diesel in all 17 destinations. We’ve included the cost for a 1,000-mile journey, and whether prices are up or down vs 2019.

Unleaded 95 petrol price comparison 2023 vs 2019

# Country Cost for 1,000 miles Cost per litre £ +/- vs 2019 & +/- vs 2019
1 Andorra £187.15 £1.23 +14p +12.8%
2 Ireland £209.79 £1.38 +6p +4.5%
3 Austria £210.12 £1.39 +29p +26.4%
4 Spain £211.46 £1.40 +21p +17.6%
5 Luxembourg £213.12 £1.41 +32p +29.4%
6 UK £217.58 £1.44 +16p +12.4%
7 Portugal £224.11 £1.48 -1p -0.7%
8 Belgium £227.11 £1.50 +18p +13.6%
9 Sweden £236.10 £1.56 +18p +13.0%
10 Germany £239.09 £1.58 +15p +10.5%
11 Netherlands £241.09 £1.59 -1p -0.6%
12 France £245.09 £1.62 +21p +14.9%
13 Italy £245.42 £1.62 +12p +8.0%
14 Greece £249.42 £1.65 +16p +10.7%
15 Switzerland £251.08 £1.66 +38p +29.7%
16 Norway £260.41 £1.72 +10p +6.2%
17 Denmark £266.40 £1.76 +19p +12.1%


Diesel price comparison 2023 vs 2019


Country Cost for 1,000 miles Cost per litre £ +/- vs 2019 & +/- vs 2019
1 Andorra £167.17 £1.10 +13p +13.4%
2 Spain £190.14 £1.25 +13p +11.6%


£191.14 £1.26 +29p +29.9%
4 Ireland £194.47 £1.28 +5p +4.1%
5 Portugal £196.14 £1.29 -1p -0.8%
6 Austria £200.80 £1.32 +30p +29.4%
7 Netherlands £202.80 £1.34 +6p +4.7%
8 Greece £209.12 £1.38 +6p +4.5%
9 Germany £214.12 £1.41 +21p +17.5%
10 Denmark £218.45 £1.44 +8p +5.9%
11 UK £221.21 £1.46 +13p +9.7%
12 Belgium £222.11 £1.47 +12p +8.9%
13 France £223.11 £1.47 +17p +13.1%
14 Italy £223.44 £1.49 +9p +6.4%
15 Norway £230.44 £1.52 +2p +1.3%
16 Sweden £256.74 £1.70 +34p +25.0%
17 Switzerland £266.07 £1.76 +42p +31.3%


New low-emission zones and fines in Europe 

Various low-emission zones have come into force across Europe this summer. If flouted, they could result in costly fines. Yet our research revealed a low level of awareness of these and other driving regulations. 

Of those who told us they were planning a trip: 

  • 43% weren’t aware of the restrictions in top destinations like France and Spain4
  • 52% didn’t know about daily entry fees and permits needed in many cities
  • 58% didn’t know of the requirement to display the vehicle’s emissions on a windscreen sticker

In France, for instance, not displaying a ‘Crit Air’ emission sticker could result in fines of €68-€135. 

Speeding can also carry on-the-spot fines in Europe, yet 42% of those planning to drive there didn’t realise this. That’s despite 19% admitting to being fined for speeding or other traffic violations on past trips to Europe. 18% said they’d been given ULEZ-style fines for breaching low-emission zone rules. And 47% were unaware that those with a paper driving licence issued before 31 March 2000 will need an international driving permit.

Tips for motoring on the continent 

The cost of filling up in Europe can vary by as much as £100, so plan your driving routes carefully before setting out to keep costs down. Some helpful tips for motoring on the continent include:

  1. Check fuel costs in the countries where you plan to drive and plan detours to save cash
  2. Avoid refuelling on the motorway – divert to a local town and get supermarket fuel
  3. Make sure your driving licence is valid in Europe and get an international permit if not
  4. Check the level of breakdown assistance cover you have for driving in Europe
  5. Read up on any motoring rules that apply in the countries where you plan to drive
  6. Carry some foreign currency as not all petrol stations in rural locations accept plastic

Get a better rate on your travel money

Remember to check the exchange rate for your destination to get the best value. If you’re flying before you drive, you’re likely to get a better rate by buying currency before you get to the airport.  

With Post Office, you can order travel money online to collect from any branch or get it delivered to your door. You can also buy selected currencies in 7,000 branches. And you can safely carry up to 22 currencies on our handy, prepaid, multi-currency Travel Money Card. It’s accepted wherever you see the Mastercard Acceptance Mark.

Protect your trip with travel insurance

If you’re visiting EU countries, a Ghic or Ehic will provide some medical cover there but they don’t cover everything. Remember to get travel insurance that covers your trip and what you’ll be doing too, whether you’re heading for Europe or the wider world. 

Go in the know 

The requirements for UK travellers traveling to and returning from various destinations can change unexpectedly. It is always advisable to check the latest travel advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice for your specific destination, as traveling against their recommendations may invalidate your travel insurance.


Take your holiday money in cash or on a handy, prepaid card

More about the research

1 Post Office ‘Hot Topics’ research, conducted 18-26 May 2023 among a nationally representative sample of 2005 consumers. 44% (874) of these consumers said they’re planning a holiday to Europe this year. Of those, 33% will either drive to Europe (14%) or hire a vehicle to drive when they get there (19%).

2 2023 vs 2019 prices. Fuel prices for the Post Office Travel Money Motoring on the Continent report were taken from a range of sources including, Cargopedia and the RAC.  Post Office Travel Money surveyed unleaded petrol and diesel prices per litre and calculated the cost of motoring for 1,000 miles (based on 30 miles per gallon/4.55 litres), comparing 2023 prices with 2022. Data for both tables relates to exchange rates on 21 June 2023 and the cost per litre is to the nearest pence. 

3 When asked which countries they would be driving in or through in Europe during their holidays, the top 10 named were: France (21%), Spain (13%), Italy (11%), UK (10%), Greece 99%), Germany (6%), Netherlands (5%), Portugal (4%), Belgium (3%) and Ireland (2%).

4 Post Office research found at least 43% of those surveyed (289 respondents) planning to drive in Europe were unaware of new European regulations either in place or coming into play soon.

Price comparison between unleaded petrol and diesel fuel

Country Petrol/litre Diesel/litre Price difference
Denmark £1.76 £1.44 -32p
Greece £1.65 £1.38 -27p
Netherlands £1.59 £1.34 -25p
Norway £1.72 £1.52 -20p
Portugal £1.48 £1.29 -19p
Germany £1.58 £1.41 -17p
France £1.62 £1.47 -15p
Spain £1.40 £1.25 -15p
Luxembourg £1.41 £1.26 -15p
Italy £1.62 £1.49 -13p
Andorra £1.23 £1.10 -13p
Ireland £1.38 £1.28 -10p
Austria £1.39 £1.32 -7p
Belgium £1.50 £1.47 -3p
UK £1.44 £1.46 +2p
Switzerland £1.66 £1.76 +10p
Sweden £1.56 £1.70 +14p


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  • Travel Money Card

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