Diesel prices in France reach record high

A motorist fills the tank of his car with diesel. Diesel prices in France have surpassed the record set in 2018.
A motorist fills the tank of his car with diesel. Diesel prices in France have surpassed the record set in 2018. Photo: GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP.
A litre of diesel now costs on average €1.53 in French service stations, surpassing the previous record set at the beginning of the 'Yellow Vests' movement.

After record increases to the price of household gas, it’s now the turn of motor fuel to break records. Diesel has never been more expensive in France, after reaching €1.5354 on average per litre last week, according to figures from the Ministry of Ecological Transition.

That represents a 28 percent increase compared to this time last year. The previous record of €1.5331 was set in October 2018, just before the beginning of the ‘Yellow Vests’ movement, which began as a protest against rising fuel costs.

The price of unleaded petrol has also seen a steep rise in recent weeks, although at €1.6332 it is yet to reach the record of €1.6664 set in 2012.

At the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in May 2020, prices fell to €1.16 for diesel and €1.23 for petrol as the global economy came to a standstill. Since then, the economic recovery has put a strain on natural resources.

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This has lead to an explosion in Brent crude oil prices – the global reference for oil prices. “We’re at $83 per barrel. Two weeks ago, we were at $70 the barrel,” economist Philippe Chalmin told BFMTV. That’s twice as high as it was a year ago.

In response to the Yellow Vests protests in 2018, the government decided to cancel planned fuel tax rises, and tax rates have not risen since. That means the current rise in prices is down to global market variation rather than taxes, even though the latter represent around 60 percent of the price consumers pay at the pump.

You can compare prices between different service stations near you by consulting the government’s price index.


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