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MONEY

Where to get the cheapest fuel in Spain

Filling up your tank is getting more expensive in Spain as global fuel prices rise. Here's where you can find the cheapest fuel in Spain and other ways to save on petrol costs.

petrol station in Spain
Where are the cheapest places to buy fuel in Spain? Photo: Juan Fernandez / Unsplash

Petrol and gas prices have skyrocketed across Europe since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including in Spain.

Russia is the world’s third-largest oil producer and second-largest exporter, but the Ukraine crisis has only exacerbated the problem, since petrol prices have been on an upward trend here in Spain since May 2021. 

Add this to exorbitant electricity prices over the past year and the rising costs of goods, and it’s no wonder this is putting a huge strain on our wallets. 

READ ALSO: The food products that are more expensive than ever in Spain

The average price at the pump in Spain is now €1.76 per litre for petrol/gasoline and €1.6 for diesel, reaching historic highs.

However, this varies a lot between service stations and regions. In the Basque Country for example, prices have already reached €2 per litre for petrol in some places. 

What determines the price of fuel?

The international price per barrel affects the cost of fuel around the globe, but that is only part of it.

The reasons for the price increase are varied. One is the increase in demand due to the economic recovery after the pandemic, but there is also an increase in the price of a barrel of oil, as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Every petrol station franchise has other expenses such as production, distribution and marketing costs, which include wholesaler and retailer margins. This may be what makes smaller franchise fuel stations cheaper than big national chains.

The price is also affected by taxes and other associated costs, such as the maintenance of strategic reserves and the contribution to the National Energy Efficiency Fund.

In Spain, liquid fuels derived from petroleum are subject to two taxes: VAT and the Special Tax on Hydrocarbons (IEH).

READ ALSO: Why is electricity in Spain more expensive than ever?

So where are the cheapest places to fill up?

According to Spain’s main consumer watchdog OCU, filling up your tank of petrol will now cost you €16 more than it did a year ago. This means that choosing the right place to fill up, could save you a significant amount of money. 

The driver portal deiselogasolina.com has found that Ballenoil, BonÀrea, and Alcampo service station chains are the cheapest places to fill up, while Repsol, Cepsa, Galp and Shell are most expensive.

For example, the average price of litre of unleaded 95 petrol at a Repsol station is €1.80, while at BonArea, it will cost you an average of €1.58. 

Fill up locally  

According to the OCU, the most expensive places to fill up are the ones that have the most service stations and are more prevalent throughout the whole country, while those with the lowest prices tend to be budget regional or supermarket chains, with less presence on motorways.

The average price of gas stations located on the main roads or highways is usually higher than the rest.  

If you want to save on fuel, it’s best to fill up in your local town before you hit the road.

Gas stations with the lowest prices tend to be in agricultural areas and smaller cities next to large cities, but it is difficult to find them because only one in six has low price levels compared to the average.

How to find the cheapest petrol stations?

Prices vary from region to region and area to area, so how do you know where to find the cheapest place to fill up? 

Google Maps

One of the best ways to find out the cheapest place is in fact via Google Maps, where you can find the up to date prices for each station. It works both on the mobile app and a computer. First, click on Petrol Station or Gasolinera button, which appears below or next to the search bar. This will generate a map of all the petrol stations and their prices, closest to you. You can also change the search area, if you want to check the prices somewhere else. 

Keep in mind that not all petrol stations will display prices. If you want to find out the prices of different types of petrol, as well as diesel at a particular petrol station, simply click on it and it will give a list of the types it offers and the prices. 

Other websites 

There are several other websites that work in a similar way to Google Maps, including elpreciodelagasolina.com and dieselogasolina.com. You simply type in or find your region and the sites will produce a map, along with a list of the cheapest petrol stations near you. 

You can also consult the website Geoportalgasolineras, from the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism.

This online page allows you to research ahead of time so you know where it’s cheaper to refuel according to your city or region. It publishes updated prices and also allows you to filter the results by type of fuel. 

Apps 

Apps such as GasAll and Gasolineras España are also good options, which detail the prices of petrol near you and allow you to compare the price of different types. 

The OCU also has a search engine for cheaper places to fill up in your area, available here

Keep an eye out for the section with a list of all existing discount plans too.

Spanish vocabulary:

Gasolinera – gas or petrol station

El carburante – fuel (petrol/gas and diesel)

Gasolina  – petrol/gas

Diésel – diesel

Gasolina sin plomo – unleaded petrol

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ENVIRONMENT

How to get involved with urban gardens in Spain

If you fancy yourself green-fingered or live in an apartment without access to your own outdoor space, you'll find that Spain has many urban gardens and allotments that you can potentially join.

How to get involved with urban gardens in Spain

Urban gardens or huertos urbanos have become very popular in Spain’s big cities, so popular in fact that in some of the bigger cities there are now long waiting lists if you want to be able to have your own little vegetable plot.

According to Focus on Spanish Society, a publication edited by Funcas, almost two-thirds of the total population (65 percent) of those in Spain live in apartments, the second-highest number in the EU, after Latvia.

This means that over half of Spaniards don’t have their own gardens, fuelling the need for green spaces in cities where people can fulfill their green-fingered ambitions or simply learn more about the cultivation of vegetables.

Urban gardens were created to meet this demand and have been around in Spain since just after the Second World War. Today, the report on Urban Agriculture in Spain, says that there are over 20,000 allotments around the country.

All of these work slightly differently – some are owned by the city council, others by cultural or social associations and some are private. There are different ways to get involved, from signing up to waitlists provided by your local Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) to paying a monthly fee to rent your own plot or joining a communal garden to work with others, instead of having your own individual space.

Here’s how it works in some of Spain’s main cities, what you need to do and how to get involved.

Barcelona

Barcelona has an extensive network of urban gardens in almost all barrios across the city, even in the very central ones such as Ciutat Vella and Raval.

Barcelona’s Urban Gardens Network is aimed at people over 65 in the city. They must be physically capable of agricultural work and at the time of requesting a plot and must not live with anyone else who has been given one. Part of the program is also reserved for people at risk of social exclusion.  

To be able to get your own little garden in Barcelona you must ask at the offices of Atención Ciudadana de los Distritos and bring the original and a copy of your DNI/TIE, as well as a certificate of convivencia, which can also be applied for at the same office.

Neighbourhood gardeners at Madrid’s community garden “Esta es una Plaza” (This one is a Square) Photo: GERARD JULIEN/AFP

Madrid

There are 74 urban gardens distributed throughout the Spanish capital, which receive training and advice from the City Council. They are also part of the Network of Ecological School Gardens of Madrid so that kids can learn about gardening and planting vegetables too.

The Network of Urban Gardens of Madrid is an initiative promoted by citizens who are dedicated to community agriculture within the city. On their website, you’ll find a list of each urban garden, as well as details on how to contact, join or rent a plot at each one. 

Malaga

There are several urban gardens located both within Malaga city itself and on its outskirts. While there isn’t a central organisation managing all the urban gardens like in Barcelona, if you want to get involved, you’ll have to contact each one individually.  Some of the best located closest to the city centre are La Yuca, El Caminito and Huerta Dignidad.

El Caminito is one of the most well-known and is located next to the old San Miguel cemetery. It’s managed by the El Caminito association and the main purpose of the project is to raise awareness of environmental issues.  On their website, they state that all you need to do to join in is to show up and be willing to participate. You can also e-mail [email protected] to find out more.

gardening

How to get involved with urban gardens in Spain. Photo: jf-gabnor / Pixabay

Valencia

There are several urban gardens in Valencia city. The four main ones are Parque de la Torre, Huertos de Benimaclet,  Hort de la Botja and El Espacio Verde Benicalap.  

Parque de la Torre is the largest urban garden in Valencia with a total of 274 plots. There is currently a waitlist to be able to get one, which you can join by contacting them via their website. 

Huertos de Benimaclet is a dedicated space of 60 plots for residents of the neighbourhood to grow fruits and vegetables and learn about cultivation and the environment. The cost to join is €22 per year and currently there is a waitlist. You can contact them via their website to sign up.

Hort de la Botja-Velluters grew out of the need for education and including those who were at risk from social exclusion. They have an active Facebook group, through which you can contact them and ask about getting involved. They also organise lots of activities such as those for local children.

El Espai Verd Benicalap is an urban garden and civic centre which was created between 2020 and 2021. It has just 15 plots, as well as an edible forest. The garden is reserved for those who live in the area of Benicalap and join one of the Benicalap barrio associations.

Seville

Seville currently has 13 urban gardens within its city limits, located in several of the main neighbourhoods. Click here to find out where they are and information about each one.

There’s also a website dedicated to Huertos Urbanos in Sevilla, which lists events, tours and open days when you can go and help out. You can contact them directly about the availability of renting your own patch or how you can get involved on an ongoing basis.

Just last year, the Ayuntamiento of Seville created 33 new vegetable plots in the Parque Guadaíra. Each one has been given to a different association to manage, so you may find that by joining a local association, you’ll have access to an allotment too. 

What if I can’t join an urban garden?

If you’re unable to join an urban garden because the waitlists are too long, you can’t afford to rent a plot yourself or you are in the right age bracket, then remember it’s always possible to create your own mini vegetable patch on your balcony.

No matter how small your balcony is, there’s always room for planters that hang off the edge, where you can grow smaller edible plants such as cherry tomatoes, herbs and small peppers. You can also place pots around the edge to grow various vegetables instead of flowers or traditional house plants. 

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