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When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Petrol still cheaper in Benidorm

Attendant filling up the cars at Repsol
August has been a very busy month in Benidorm - mainly due to the domestic Spanish holiday maker taking a "staycation". The city dwellers, particularly those from Madrid flock to Benidorm for their 2 week break - they view Benidorm as their local beach. Unfortunately the majority drive and its a nightmare trying to find somewhere to park during this period. Add to the equation foreign holiday makers in their rental cars and Benidorm begins to look a bit like a UK town, with cars bumper to bumper along the Avd Mediterraneo and drivers competing for parking spaces.

Today´s record price
With so many cars descending is it a coincidence that petrol prices are at their highest! Today´s price is 1.55 euro per litre - which is an all time high here, but it is still cheaper than in the UK where the average price is 1.38 GBP making it ap 1.72 euros.

But the main difference between Spanish and British petrol stations is the service received. At many Spanish ones you still get a personal service with an attendant filling up for you - just like the old days in the UK.  Watch "Heartbeat" if you are too young to remember! This is particularly useful to women - not because we don´t know how to fill up but from the security aspect. You can sit in your car and pay the attendant without having to leave your vehicle, which at night is great. If you have a baby or young child in the car,  it is always a torment whether to leave them sleeping or take them out as you have to go into the shop or kiosk to pay.... here you don´t have that problem. All Repsol service stations have attendants and many BP ones too - so if you don´t want your hands smelling of petrol, head to one of those if you need to fill up.

Busy car hire kiosks at Alicante airport
If you are here on holiday and looking to hire a car, remember to ask about the petrol policy. Each company has different policies and if possible go for one with a full full option. That means you bring the car back full. If its an "empty" option you are paying for fuel that you may not use.... which at the current pump prices could be costly. Also try and remove any car hire stickers so as not to draw attention to the fact that you are a tourist from a safety aspect.

Most of the Spanish holiday makers will start heading back this weekend so it will be interesting to see whether the petrol prices start to fall ... supply and demand, they have to get back! But they do tend to go down as quickly as they go up - unlike in the UK where they go up straight away but are somewhat slower to come down.

Staycations are certainly something that the UK government is trying to encourage and I think that even the UK press are joining in.  This appeared to be the case recently with The Sun and The Mirror, knocking resorts such as Benidorm - perhaps to scare visitors away? Increasing cheap flights abroad on budget carriers have had a severe impact on British tourism, especially to seaside resorts. But with the unpredictable British weather many Brits flock to the likes of Benidorm as they can generally be guaranteed sunshine over the summer months - unlike the UK when people still had their central heating on in June! However, its not kept the British Prime Minister David Cameron and his Deputy Nick Clegg away - they are both holidaying in Spain!

Relevant articles
Rising petrol prices in Benidorm
Car hire petrol policy
Enhancements to petrol stations
AP7 toll charges
British Consul issues warning to Brits driving to Spain
On its knees... Benidorm says NO to The Sun

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