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.
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.
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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.
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)