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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.

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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.

 

Member comments

  1. I was under the impression that the price of crude had gone down to $60 a barrel. Whilst I realise that the price of fuel hitting the forecourts now would have been paid for at a slightly higher price, in the next few weeks it should go down.

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LIVING IN FRANCE

France to roll out ID cards app

Technology is being rolled out to allow people to carry their French ID cards in an app form - and could be rolled out to other cards, including driving licences and cartes de séjour residency cards.

France to roll out ID cards app

Holders of French carte d’identité (ID cards) will soon be able to carry certified digital versions of them on their smartphone or other electronic devices, a decree published in the Journal Officiel has confirmed.

An official app is being developed for holders of the newer credit card-format ID cards that have information stored on a chip. A provisional test version of the app is expected at the end of May.

Users will be able to use the ID card app, when it becomes available, for a range of services “from checking in at the airport to renting a car”, according to Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market.

All French citizens have an ID card, which can be used for proving identity in a range of circumstances and for travel within the EU and Schengen zone – the new app will be in addition to the plastic card that holders already have.

Under the plans, after downloading the app, card holders will need merely to hold the card close to their phone to transfer the required information. According to officials, the holder then can decide what information is passed on – such as proof of age, or home address – according to the situation.

The government has not given any examples of situations in which the app would need to be used, but has set out the main principles and the ambition of the plan: to allow everyone to identify themselves and connect to certain public and private organisations, in particular those linked to the France Connect portal.

READ ALSO What is France Connect and how could it make your life simpler?

Cards will continue to be issued for the foreseeable future – this is merely an extension of the existing system.

Only French citizens have ID cards, but if successful the app is expected to be rolled out to include other cards, such as driving licences, cartes de séjour residency cards or even visas. A digital wallet is being developed at the European level – Member States have until September to agree what it could contain.

READ ALSO Eight smartphone apps that make life in France a bit easier

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