SHARE
COPY LINK

TRAVEL

Price of petrol in Italy spikes at more than €2 a litre

Driving in Italy just got more expensive: the price of petrol at Italian pumps has climbed to its highest level in months, topping €2 a litre in several parts of the country.

Price of petrol in Italy spikes at more than €2 a litre
It's even more expensive than usual to fill the tank in Italy. Photo: Giulio Napolitano/AFP

With the US seeking to block Iran's oil exports and fighting raging in Libya, the rising cost of crude is being passed on to consumers, according to the Italian government's Fuel Observatory, which monitors petrol prices.

Two of Italy's biggest fuel companies, Eni and IP, raised their recommended prices for unleaded petrol and diesel by 1 euro cent on Wednesday. And service stations along Italian motorways have been spotted charging as much as €2.020/litre for petrol outside Milan, €2.051/litre near Florence and a whopping €2.071/litre outside Naples, the observatory said.

Nationwide, the average prices at attended pumps are €1.750/litre for petrol and €1.643/litre for diesel (or at self-service pumps, €1.618/litre and €1.508/litre respectively). That puts petrol at its most expensive since October 2018, when it hit a two-year high of €1.658/litre.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Italy's new petrol pump labels


Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

That's bad news for drivers in Italy, who are expected to take to the roads in their thousands from Thursday for the long Liberation Day weekend.

If you're looking to save a few cents, avoid refuelling on the motorway, where prices are typically highest, and fill the tank yourself: fuel from self-service pumps is generally at least a cent cheaper per litre.

The biggest money-saver, though, are so-called pompe bianche ('white pumps'): independent petrol stations that pump unbranded fuel, which is on average five euro cents cheaper per litre than its branded equivalent at big-name stations. There are an estimated 7,000 across Italy; find your nearest one via this map.

READ ALSO: 

Even when geopolitics aren't pushing the price up, fuel is almost always more expensive in Italy than most other European countries thanks to a hefty excise tax that makes up nearly half of what consumers pay at the pumps: the equivalent of €728.40 per 1,000 litres of petrol.

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini promised during last year's election campaign to reduce the fuel tax, though so far no reforms have been tabled. 

Useful vocabulary

la benzina (senza piombo) – (unleaded) petrol

il gasolio or il diesel – diesel

il GPL – LPG, liquid petroleum gas

il benzinaio or la stazione di servizio – petrol/service station

fare il pieno – to fill up (the petrol tank)

 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

DRIVING

Driving in Italy: What is a ‘Telepass’ and how do you use it?

If you drive in Italy, you'll likely see large yellow 'Telepass' signs on motorways and at car parks. Here's everything you need to know about using the transport pass.

Driving in Italy: What is a 'Telepass' and how do you use it?

Getting around Italy by car might not be the most sustainable mode of transport, but for those hard-to-reach places and medieval hilltop villages, a private set of wheels is sometimes a necessity.

READ ALSO: ‘Expect the unexpected’: What you need to know about driving in Italy

Plus, if you’re a resident in a remote location, public transport may be sparse or even non-existent.

Whatever your reason for driving around Italy, you’ll likely spot the so-called ‘Telepass’ scheme at motorway toll points and in car parks.

It can be a handy, faster and cheaper way to use Italy’s roads and parking spaces – and it’s expanded to cover more travel services like taxis and trains too.

Here’s an overview of what you need to know about the system, whether you’re a visitor or a resident.

What is a Telepass?

Italy’s motorways are a network of toll roads. How much you pay depends on how much of the motorway you use, calculated by where you enter and exit.

You can take a ticket and pay when you exit the motorway, or you can use a Telepass.

The Telepass is best known as a device that you stick in your vehicle, which lets you pass through motorway tolls without queuing or the need to stop and pay with cash or card.

If you have the device, you can drive to dedicated lanes where the sign is displayed and you’ll see yellow lines and sometimes a yellow ‘T’ on the road. You can drive right through once you hear the beep on the device.

That sound means your entry or exit has been registered and the barrier will lift allowing you to pass through.

The Telepass allows quick entry and exit of motorways. (Photo by PACO SERINELLI / AFP)

How do you get a Telepass?

You pay a monthly subscription for the device, starting from around €1 per month – although some plans offer the first six months for free, while the charges you incur while driving will be added to that fee.

Check the Telepass website here for details of current offers and pricing plans. 

You can sign up via the website, or the app, through which you’ll also make payments and keep track of your subscription and expenses.

Offers available via the app appear to require customers to provide a phone number registered in Italy, France, Germany, the US or the UK.

Once you sign up, the Telepass can be sent out to your home address. You can also choose to pick it up from a Telepass point, located at gas stations around Italy.

If you don’t want to pay monthly, for example if you’re just visiting Italy, there is a pay-as-you-go option too with a one-off activation charge of €10.

Where can you use a Telepass?

As well as for motorway access, you can also use the Telepass for various other things such paying for ferry tickets, parking, and congestion charges such as those in Milan’s ‘Area C’ traffic restricted area.

In car parks and on some street parking, you may see the Telepass function displayed in its usual blue and yellow signage.

If you see this sign, it means you can go towards the barrier, you’ll hear the beep and you can enter the car park. On exiting, the exact time you’ve spent there will be calculated and charged.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How do you dispute a parking ticket in Italy?

A motorway toll showing cash, card and Telepass lanes. Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP

You may also see them at airports when you go to drop off or pick up passengers – and again, in some of their car parks too.

The same system applies, where your time will be automatically calculated and you can enter and exit without a ticket or paying at a machine.

If you have the Telepass app, you can also use it for everything from paying for car hire and train tickets to paying for fuel or bike sharing schemes.

For a full list of the services, in English, see here.

There is also a European version of the Telepass which can be used similarly in France, Spain and Portugal. There are plans to expand its use to additional European countries in future.

“The Europe device gives you access to the Autostrada in Europa service so you will be able to travel freely by car or motorcycle without barriers or borders,” the official website says.

You can sign up for this service for a €6 activation fee, with usage charged monthly. Find more details about it here.

Are there any alternatives to the Telepass?

The Telepass system has enjoyed its monopoly within Italy for more than 30 years, but just a few weeks ago a rival competitor launched a similar product – Unipol’s ‘UnipolMove’.

It replicates the Telepass function by means of a device – again, a type of small box that you put in your car or on a motorbike.

The UnipolMove allows automatic payment of motorway tolls through dedicated lanes and an ID system that communicates with the barrier, just like the Telepass.

Paying for the device and charges are currently restricted to Italian IBAN numbers though, so the Telepass currently has wider appeal for international drivers.

READ ALSO: How visitors to Italy can avoid driving penalties

Unipol’s packages aren’t yet as diverse as those of the Telepass, as you may expect. Due to its recent launch, there is only one type of contract for the UnipolMove, whereas Telepass offers various packages.

The monthly fee is competitive at €1 per month, but at the moment it’s free for the first six months.

This new product also offers other services aside from motorway tolls, such as car parking and congestion charge functions.

For more details on the new UnipolMove, currently only in Italian, see here.

For more information on driving around Italy, visit our travel section for the latest updates.

SHOW COMMENTS