SHARE
COPY LINK

MONEY

MAP: Where to find the cheapest fuel in France

In common with many countries, France is seeing soaring prices of petrol and diesel as a result of the war in Ukraine - prices at the pump have already reached €2 a litre in many areas and are set to go higher.

Fuel prices in France are reaching record highs
Fuel prices in France are reaching record highs. Photo: Pascal Guyot/AFP

The government is working on a plan to ‘protect’ French residents from the price rises resulting from the invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions on Russia, but while we wait, here are some tips on finding cheaper fuel.

Autoroutes

Unsurprisingly, the highest prices are at service stations on the autoroutes so heading into a town to fill up instead will save you money.

Make sure you know where you are going though. Many supermarkets place signposts next to highway exits, but once you have turned off the signs often trail out leaving you lost in a strange city.

If you end up driving the entire circumference of the city of Tours while having a blazing row with your partner – to quote a completely random example from no-one we know – it rather nullifies any saving you might make on fuel prices.

Supermarkets

Supermarkets usually come out top of most price comparison sites, as the chains sell fuel at very little profit, but use the filling station as a way of luring the customer into the main store to spend money.

Map

The French government hosts this helpful little interactive map that lists the current price of fuel at filling stations across the country.

If you’re in a town it can provide a price comparison, or for long journeys help you plan your route via the cheapest filling points. Click HERE for the full map.

Map: gouv.fr

There are also apps that do roughly the same thing, including Carbu.com, Essence&Co and Fuel Flash.

Government help

While no governments enjoy presiding over fuel price rises, in France this has a particular political resonance as the ‘yellow vest’ protests that rocked the country back in 2018 and 2019 began as a protest over the cost of motoring.

At that time petrol was around €1.60 a litre, significantly lower than the current cost.

Keenly aware of this, the French government also already brought in two measures to protect motorists – a tax break for people who use their cars to commute and a one-off payment of €100 to those on lower incomes.

These measures are likely to be repeated in some form in the Ukraine plan.

French vocab

La station service – filling station

Les carburants – fuel (petrol/gas and diesel)

L’essence – petrol/gas

Gazole – diesel

Sans plomb quatre-vingt-quinze (or SP95) – standard unleaded petrol/gas

Sans plomb quatre-vingt-dix-huit (SP98) – higher octane unleaded petrol/gas

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

DRIVING

COMPARE: Which countries in Europe have the strictest drink-drive limits?

Certain countries around Europe have stricter policies than others regarding drinking and driving and harsher punishments for those caught exceeding legal limits. Here's what you need to know.

COMPARE: Which countries in Europe have the strictest drink-drive limits?

European countries set their own driving laws and speed limits and it’s no different when it comes to legal drink-drive limits.

While the safest thing to do of course, is to drink no alcohol at all before driving it is useful to know what the limit is in the country you are driving in whether as a tourist or as someone who frequently crosses European borders by car for work.

While some countries, such as the Czech Republic, have zero tolerance for drinking and driving, in others people are allowed to have a certain amount of alcohol in their blood while driving.

However, not only can the rules be different between countries, they are usually stricter for commercial (or bus) drivers and novice drivers as well. Besides that, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is extremely difficult to estimate, so the old “one beer is ok” standards no longer safely apply.

In the end, the only way to be safe is to avoid consuming alcohol before driving. Any amount will slow reflexes while giving you dangerous higher confidence. According to the UK’s National Health Service, there is no ‘safe’ drinking level.

How is blood alcohol level measured?

European countries mostly measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which is the amount, in grams, of alcohol in one litre of blood.

After alcohol is consumed, it will be absorbed fast from the stomach and intestine to the bloodstream. There, it is broken down by a liver-produced enzyme.

Each person will absorb alcohol at their own speed, and the enzyme will also work differently in each one.

The BAC will depend on these metabolic particularities as well as body weight, gender, how fast and how much the person drank, their age and whether or not (and how much) they have eaten, and even stress levels at the time.

In other words there are many things that may influence the alcohol concentration.

The only way to effectively measure BAC is by taking a blood test – even a breathalyser test could show different results. Still, this is the measuring unit used by many EU countries when deciding on drinking limits and penalties for drivers.

Here are the latest rules and limits.

Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Greece, Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, and Croatia

In most EU countries, the limit is just under 0.5g/l for standard drivers (stricter rules could be in place for novice or professional drivers).

This could be exceeded by a man with average weight who consumed one pint of beer (containing 4.2% alcohol) and two glasses of red wine (13% alcohol) while having dinner.

If a person is caught driving with more than 0.8g/l of blood alcohol content in Austria, they can pay fines of up to € 5,900 and to have their license taken for one year in some cases.

In France, if BAC exceeds 0.8g/l, they could end up with a 2-year jail sentence and a € 4,500 fine. In Germany, penalties start at a € 500 fine and a one-month license suspension. In Greece, drunk drivers could face up to years of imprisonment.

In Denmark, first time offenders are likely to have their licences suspended and could be required to go on self-paid alcohol and traffic courses if BAC levels are low. Italy has penalties that vary depending on whether or not the driver has caused an accident and could lead to car apprehension, fines and prison sentences.

In Spain, going over a 1.2g/l limit is a criminal offence that could lead to imprisonment sentences and hefty fines. 

Norway, Sweden, and Poland

In Norway, Sweden, and Poland, the limit for standard drivers is 0.2g/l. It could take a woman with average weight one standard drink, or one can of beer, to reach that level.

Penalties in Norway can start at a one month salary fine and a criminal record. In Poland, fines are expected if you surpass the limit, and you could also have your license revoked and receive a prison sentence.

Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia

The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia have one of the strictest rules in the European Union. There is no allowed limit of alcohol in the blood for drivers.

In the Czech Republic, fines start at € 100 to € 800, and a driving ban of up to one year can be instituted for those driving with a 0.3 BAC level. However, the harshest penalties come if the BAC level surpasses 1 g/l, fines can be up to € 2,000, and drivers could be banned from driving for 10 years and imprisoned for up to three years.

This is intended to be a general guide and reference. Check the current and specific rules in the country you plan to travel to. The easiest and best way to be safe and protect yourself and others is to refrain from drinking alcohol and driving.

SHOW COMMENTS