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Subject: Cheap petrol propels Finnish motorists to Russia

Written By: Philip Eno on 02/13/15 at 2:10 am

The falling value of the rouble is bad news for Russia's economy but it's benefiting motorists in neighbouring Finland, it's reported.

Finnish drivers are taking advantage of the struggling currency to engage in so-called petrol tourism - crossing the border to fill up their tanks at much cheaper prices than at home, national broadcaster Yle reports. Petrol prices in Russia are almost half those in Finland, and even when the cost of an entry visa is taken into account, motorists say the savings are substantial. It's particularly popular in the south-east, where the number of border crossings is going up, the website says. Finns are often seen using petrol stations in the city of Vyborg, 38km (24 miles) from the Finnish border, where a litre of unleaded costs about 0.52 euros ($0.59; £0.39) and diesel is even cheaper. The rouble plunged in value against the euro in 2014 and that slide has continued this year.

"There aren't many times that I've filled up in Finland over the past 10 years," Vesa Ropponen, who lives in a town near the border, tells Yle. Another motorist says being a petrol tourist saves him 1,000 euros per year. The head of a company which provides credit for people who want to buy fuel in Russia says the number of people doing it will probably rise in the spring. "Getting a visa takes some time," says Vesa Kaukonen, CEO of Beoscan Oy. "And not everyone wants to travel to Russia in the winter."

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