Wednesday 1 July 2015

FAQs: diesel

I regularly receive questions from people contemplating coming to live on Flores. Prominent amongst these are property prices (low-ish), Portuguese taxes (average) and internet speed (I've no complaints but judge for youself).

But I was surprised recently to be asked if you could buy diesel on the island. Particularly as the questioner had pre-supposed that he could get his SUV to a place where it might not be possible to refuel it on arrival.

For the avoidance of doubt (as we lawyers are fond of saying when in fact we're adding to it massively), you can buy diesel here. At petrol (gas) stations in accordance with the usual practice, in fact - you don't have to buy it in leaky jerry cans from a bloke who smuggled it off a passing ship, or anything.

Library picture - this particular petrol station is now closed

Don't ask me about the price of diesel, though, as my car is petrol (gasoline). 1,38€ per litre as you ask, which, with the Euro trading so low due to the Greek crisis (how is that anti-austerity thing working out, by the way?), is about £1.00. Thus, petrol in this outlying island is considerably cheaper than in Britain where it currently averages around £1.17 a litre. That's no doubt because Portugal taxes petrol more lightly than the UK but the BBC's fuel price calculator also suggests that the price of petrol on Flores is about 9% below the Portuguese average.

Whether that's because the Azores suffer a lower rate of fuel duty than in continental Portugal, I don't know (we have 5% lower Value Added Tax (sales tax) here and lower Income Tax rates as well) but cheaper petrol in the islands is the complete reverse of the situation in Scotland where higher fuel prices in the islands is a constant gripe due to the transportation costs (even though the Scottish islands are much closer to the mainland than the Azores).

I've digressed away from things intending residents of Flores wonder about whether you can buy here. When we arrived in 2006 we were mindful of the fact our house's electricity supply had been disconnected (because there's a standing charge of 0,31€ a day - do we have that in Britain?) and it might take a while for it to be reconnected. So we brought a shed load of candles with us. We've still got most of them:-

If we'd known then what we know now, though, we'd have brought a suitcase full of this:-