Hundreds of fuel stations in France run dry as oil depot blockade continues

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Hundreds of fuel stations in France run dry as oil depot blockade continues
Hundreds of filling stations across France have no fuel. Photo: AFP

Hundreds of filling stations around France have run out of petrol and diesel as blockades of oil refineries enter their second week.


Construction workers have been blockading refineries in Brittany since last week and a blockade at La Rochelle - which was listed over the weekend - has resumed.

French media reported on Tuesday morning that 390 filling stations have no fuel at all, and another 389 have limited supplies. The areas affected include Brittany, the west of France, the south east coast area around Marseille and some parts of eastern France near the Swiss border.

For an interactive map of which filling stations are affected, click here.


In Brittany, workers are staging blockages at depots in Brest, Lorient, Le Mans and Vern-sur-Seiche (close to Rennes). 

Further south, in the region of La Rochelle, another blockade was cleared at 4.30pm on Friday, but resumed at midnight on Monday.

Protesting fuel tax hike

The workers staging the blockages belong to the public construction group BTP, Bâtiments et Travaux Publics (“Buildings and Public Construction”). They are protesting a fuel tax hike planned for 2020, which they say will have a negative financial impact on their companies.

Until now, the so-called gazole non routier (GNR), used mainly by construction workers and farmers, is subject to a tax benefit that is planned to be phased out in 2020.

According to the workers this will increase their fuel prices by 45 percent, adding an hourly cost of about €10 for an average mechanical excavator, which they fear will hurt especially the smaller construction businesses.

The government suspended the fuel tax hike last December to appease the ‘yellow vest’ protesters, whose main demands included abolishing the fuel tax.

In a separate dispute about a different type of fuel tax, hauliers are also planning on staging rolling road blocks across France from Saturday, December 7th onwards.

READ ALSO French lorry drivers announce roadblocks in fuel tax protest

The protests come just days before Thursday's 'unlimited' strikes, which are predicted to be highly disruptive, involving railway workers, Metro and bus drivers, hauliers, teachers, airline ground crew, air traffic controllers and postal workers.

READ ALSO 'Unlimited' strikes in France in December: What you need to know 


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