Why fuel prices can differ per country

Why fuel prices can differ per country

We have all experienced it when going on holiday: you fill up your gas tank in Belgium, drive to another EU country and there you need to pay a completely different price. How is this possible?

4 elements that have an impact on the price

The price you pay at the gas station is built up by different parts.
In general you can say the price can be split up in 4 elements:

  • Production price ex refinery
  • Excise duties
  • VAT
  • Margin

In some countries you even have extra local costs, for example to finance decontamination costs on old gas station sites. Below we explain the different elements more in detail.

Production price ex refinery

The production price is determined by the oil purchase price and the refining costs of the production from oil until usable fuel. These refining costs change every day.

Excise duties

The excise duties are settled each year by each national government, hence the differences.


VAT is also variable between 13% and 25% in different countries.


The margin can be split up in 4 elements as well.

  • Margin for the manager of the gas station
  • Margin for the oil company
  • Distribution costs
  • Marketing costs

When we look at the countries that we serve every day, we see that filling up the tank in Russia is the most economical and filling up in Norway is the most expensive. Read more about it in our blog: 7 elements that impact your cargo cost.

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