Gas prices have risen so much in Greece — just as they have in the rest of the world — that it is cheaper for an Athenian to take a flight to Paris than to drive to the northern city of Thessaloniki.
The average price of one liter of unleaded gas in Greece has risen to 2 euros ($2.21), which is equal to about 7.50 euros per gallon, or a stunning $8.28.
This marks an increase of 40% in prices since the beginning of the year.
This dramatic price increase means that the average person driving from the Greek capital of Athens to Thessaloniki, a distance of 501 km (312 miles), would have to spend 220 euros ($242) in gas for a return trip to the city.
Combined with the cost of tolls along the way, which total 64 euros ($70) round trip, a drive to and from Thessaloniki is more expensive than a trip to and from Paris, which is available from Athens for 220 euros ($242) round trip.
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, gas prices around the world have skyrocketed as countries attempt to disentangle themselves from dependency on Russian fuel.
Russia is currently the third-largest oil producer in the world and it contributes over 10% to the global supply of oil.
Gas prices in Greece skyrocket in wake of Ukraine invasion
Many Europeans, much more so than people in the US, depend on Russian oil for their vehicles as well as natural gas from the country to heat their homes.
However, countless countries in Europe and across the world have hit Russia with sanctions in response to the Ukrainian invasion, and oil prices have increased, and Russian officials warned that the prices could rise even more if sanctions on oil continued.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on state television on Monday that it was “absolutely clear that a rejection of Russian oil would lead to catastrophic consequences for the global market.”
Not only would oil prices more than double, to approximately $300 per barrel, but the moves made by nations to close off Russian oil would also cause the closure of the main gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, he warned.
While Greece has not banned oil from the country, it has taken steps to diversify its energy sources to reduce dependence on Russian oil, which includes building a nuclear power plant in Bulgaria.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis outlined a six-point plan to deal with Europe’s energy crisis earlier this week.
In a letter addressed to EU officials, the Greek leader calls for the EU to deal with the economic repercussions of soaring energy prices.
The letter, which is also addressed to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, refers to the increasing economic threat from soaring prices on the wholesale natural gas market, stressing the necessity for immediate and decisive action to avert additional costs for EU citizens.