Czechs are increasingly flocking to Polish border gas stations. According to Právo, pumps from the border towns of Lubawka, Sklarske Poreby, and Kudowa Zdrój to the more distant Jelenia Góra are constantly facing an invasion of cars with Czech license plates.
Some of the busiest Polish gas stations, where queues of Czech cars intensify mainly on weekends, occasionally run out of fuel, which motorists communicate through social media.
“Gas station in Lubawka, fuel is out,” has been appearing on Facebook recently along with an eloquent photo and a price tag of just under six zlotys per liter of gasoline, which is eight crowns cheaper than in neighboring Czechia. The price of diesel is in a similar price range.
The Poles can quickly replenish the current fuel shortages caused by a more significant number of mainly Czech motorists. Gasoline and diesel fuel are usually replenished within hours.
Drivers are not experiencing significant problems as they can reach the next gas station that has not run dry. “It happens quite often from the border to Jelenia Góra, which is fifty kilometers away from the border, where even local gas stations occasionally run out of fuel. It’s not a big problem for drivers, as there is always another station nearby that hasn’t been emptied,” said Miroslav Vlasák, director of the European Grouping for Territorial Cooperation NOVUM based in Jelenia Góra, Lower Silesia.
Border gas stations in Poland often experienced shortages as early as the beginning of last spring when the price difference between Polish and Czech fuels amounted to twelve crowns per liter. Thanks to the temporarily reduced VAT from 23% to 8%, it was worth it for people from the more expansive Czech border areas and cities more than sixty kilometers away to drive and fill up in neighboring Poland.
Today, the situation is repeating itself. The Poles have not reintroduced the restrictions from last year, such as the limit of fifty liters per refueling and the ban on fueling in jerry cans. “If we combine refueling the tank and a twenty-liter jerry can with shopping, not exclusively in Biedronka, which is probably the cheapest but usually crowded, we can make a decent profit,” said a family from Pardubice in the border town of Kudowa Zdrój.
“Many Czechs go there, we shop elsewhere,” say the Poles
“We don’t have any bad experiences with Polish food, which is often discussed in the Czech Republic,” added travelers looking for cheaper goods. “We come here regularly to shop at least once a week. But now, there are more people from the Czech Republic than ever before,” added another Czech family in front of the Biedronka store in Lubawka.
“We don’t go there anymore; there’s no movement. We prefer to shop in peace at a more expensive store,” said a couple from Lubawka.
According to forecasts, Czechs can fill up with cheap fuel until October 15, when parliamentary elections are held in Poland. “The state-controlled concern Orlen lowered fuel prices to help the current ruling party, Law and Justice. Other retailers had to follow suit. Otherwise, they wouldn’t sell a liter. After the elections, the price of gasoline and diesel fuel in Poland will likely increase,” said Vlasák.