Switzerland isn’t widely associated with fast cars and glamorous driving, but that doesn’t stop consumers from spending a lot of money on gasoline. According to data compiled by Swiss petroleum industry association EV/UP, the average Swiss resident buys more than 600 liters of petrol every year. Using the 2015 average of 1.49 Swiss francs for a liter of 95 octane unleaded fuel as a basic guide, the cost of that fuel would come to more than 890 francs of annual gasoline spending per capita.
But although the cost of gasoline in Switzerland may be high, there are simple ways to cut your fuel spending without cutting down on driving. Take a look at these moneyland.ch tips for fuel savings.
1. Find the cheapest station on your route
In Switzerland, fuel prices vary between regions and individual gas stations. If you find yourself driving the same routes most of the time, finding filling stations near your regular routes that consistently offer low prices on fuel and tanking at those stations can help you save a lot of money.
If you travel to a region where gas prices are generally cheaper on a daily or weekly basis, consider tanking up while there rather than at home. Online services like Benzinpreis make it easy to find the lowest gas prices near you on the go.
2. Use your auto club membership discounts
If you drive a car, chances are you might have an auto club membership just in case you ever need roadside assistance. It is worth noting that Swiss auto clubs partner with fuel retailers to help their members get discounts. In most cases, discounts come with special gas cards which are only available to club members.
For example, ACS members can apply for an ACS Agip card that knocks 4.5 centimes off the price of each liter of gas at Swiss Agip stations and an ACS Migrol card that knocks 3 centimes off each liter at Migrol gas stations. TCS members can get a TCS Tamoil card (2% discount at Swiss Tamoil stations) and a TCS BP card (2.5 centimes off each liter of gasoline at Swiss BP stations).
3. Pay with REKA checks
REKA checks are basically vouchers which can be redeemed at partner merchants in the place of cash. Many Swiss employers, associations and trade unions offer REKA checks to employees or members with discounts of up to 20% off their face value.
As a Coop Supercard holder, you get 3% off the face value of REKA checks which you purchase at Coop stores. You can also find REKA checks being sold on auction sites (Ricardo, Ebay) and classified sites (Tutti, Anibis), often well below their face value. You can use REKA checks to pay for fuel at BP and Avia gas stations (including self-service station pumps) up to their full face value.
4. Take advantage of loyalty discounts and gas cards
If you tank at “brand-name” stations, make sure to take advantage of possible discounts. Coop’s 3-centime-per-liter-discount vouchers are often handed out at Coop Pronto stores and are also available online. These can be redeemed at Coop gas stations.
Many Swiss fuel retailers issue gas cards, but in many cases these do not provide real saving benefits for drivers. However, some gas station operators do provide discounts or rewards when you use their gas cards to pay at their stations. The guide to Swiss gas cards explains which gas cards can save you money.
5. Avoid highway-stop tanking
Highway gas stations often charge higher rates than smaller gas stations. Try to fill up at a low-cost gas station ahead of a trip to avoid having to tank at an expensive filling station en route. A number of mobile apps that clearly show gas stations near you are available, and these provide an easy way to find off-highway gas stations as you travel.
6. Service your car
Keeping your car in good running condition has a direct effect on the amount of fuel it takes to from A to B. Changing the motor oil on schedule, maintaining correct tire pressure and keeping the motor tuned will noticeably cut your fuel consumption.
7. Drive economically
Revving the engine ahead of each start, trying to get from 0-100 kmph in the shortest possible amount of time, driving long distances in low gears and lugging around unnecessary weight are all fun and easy ways to waste a lot of gas. Running the air-con when the weather doesn’t call for it is another common gas waster. Driving at high speeds is not only dangerous, it also uses more gas than driving the same distance at a lower speed.
8. Use the right credit card
If you use credit cards to pay for gas, make sure to use credit cards that reward you with cash back or points that have real monetary value. You can filter and sort Swiss credit cards based on the rewards they deliver in the moneyland.ch credit card comparison.