French supermarkets cut cost of petrol to appease angry motorists

With motorists in France launching a protest campaign against high fuel taxes, two supermarkets giants have tried to ease the burden on drivers' wallets by cutting the price of petrol and diesel.

French supermarkets cut cost of petrol to appease angry motorists
Photo: AFP

The supermarkets E.Leclerc and Carrefour announced on Monday that they would sell petrol and diesel at the cost price – in other words they won't add their own margins to the fuel price.

“In a context of drastic increase in fuel prices and to be faithful to its fight to protect the spending power of the French, E.Leclerc has decided to extend its supply of fuel at cost price “until November 30th 2018” read a statement from the group.

“It's the consumers who drive growth and today this discontent is legitimate,” Michel-Édouard Leclerc told France Info radio.
“It's important commercially to satisfy our customers, but it's also important to send a signal to the public authorities.”
Fuel stations at E.Leclerc supermarkets were selling petrol for €1.45 per litre on Monday, slightly below the prices at other garages which have passed €1.60 per litre.
Rival supermarket giant Carrefour has also launched a similar initiative until November 17th that has been dubbed “fuel days”.
French motorists are threatening a day of protest on November 17th as the movement that has been dubbed the “yellow vests” gathers momentum.
The name “yellow vests” comes from the high-visibility jackets that motorists have to carry in their cars. In recent days drivers have taken to displaying them on their dashboards to show their anger at the rising cost of fuel.
President Emmanuel Macron and his government however insist they are right to raise taxes on fuel in January 2019.

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French fuel prices soar almost to levels that sparked ‘yellow vest’ protest

Petrol and diesel prices have soared since the start of the year and are now almost back at the levels which sparked the beginning of the 'yellow vest' movement.

French fuel prices soar almost to levels that sparked 'yellow vest' protest
A surge in fuel prices sparked the 'yellow vest' movement. Photo; AFP

With the yellow vests still demonstrating every weekend, the government will be watching warily to see if the higher fuel prices give new momentum to the protestors.

Standard lead-free petrol – SP 95 as it is called in France – was being sold at an average price of €1.58 at service stations across the country in late April, with diesel going for €1.48.

Diesel has risen by 17 centimes since the start of the year, with petrol going up by 10 centimes, with rising oil prices being blamed for the hikes.

Which means that petrol has not been this expensive since April 2013.


Diesel is meanwhile nearing the historic high it reached in October 2018, when diesel prices overtook petrol prices in one-fifth of gas stations nationwide for the first time.

In a country where 80 percent of cars runs on diesel, that translated into a lot of unhappy drivers.

Motorists were further enraged when the government announced that it planned to slap an ecology tax on fuel intended to guide consumer behaviour towards cleaner options.

The yellow vest movement was born and its supporters have taken to the streets every weekend since last November, despite the government backing down on imposing the new tax.

It has since spread from a protest about fuel price rises to a broader movement about social inequality.

It has yet to be seen if the currently high fuel prices will galvanise it, and reverse the downward trend in the number of people turning out for its marches every weekend in cities across France.