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Price of fuel at pumps in France passes €2 per litre

The price of fuel at the pumps in France has passed €2 per litre in many areas of the country, driven by market uncertainty following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Price of fuel at pumps in France passes €2 per litre
Motorists queue for fuel at Harfleur, near Le Havre, western France, on March 5, 2022. (Photo: Jean-Francois Monier / AFP)

According to fuel price comparison site Carbu.com, the average price of unleaded petrol on forecourts across France has risen by more than €0.10 in the past week alone and more than €0.18 in a month; while diesel has jumped nearly €0.20 over the past seven days – and over €0.25 in a month.

Check out this interactive map to find the cheapest fuel in France

For many in rural France, where public transport is poor, running a car is essential and the price hikes have already started to make a painful impact on their wallets.

It is expected that fuel prices will continue to rise as the effects of the war in Ukraine and the EU sanctions become more evident, with some predicting prices at the pump of €2.50 per litre.

In January, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced the government would increase financial help for people who drive for work, with a tax break under a scheme known as the indemnité kilométrique, while a one-off €100 ‘inflation payment’ was announced in October and paid out in December to some 38 million people.

But, with the cost of fuel rising, the government is now considering further measures pending a hoped-for increase in production from other countries. 

The 2018/19 ‘Yellow Vest’ protests began as a complaint at the price of petrol, which at that time was selling for well below €2 a litre.

In his first Presidential election rally, Emmanuel Macron promised ‘quick measures’, and hinted at some of the plans that will come into effect as part of the government’s ‘Economic Resilience Plan’ to offset some of the effects of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

READ ALSO Macron tells French ‘I will protect you’ from effects of war in Ukraine

“What we need to improve is the support on fuel,” he told the 200-strong audience at a town hall event in Poissy. “There will be a fuel part [in the resilience plan]. It will be strengthened in line with the mileage allowance. It will be worked around the mileage allowance and inflation allowance.”

Prime minister Jean Castex is expected to announce full details of the plan by ‘mid March’.

Tax cuts, demanded by some, have for now been rejected as ineffective. Taxes currently make up about 60 percent of the forecourt price in France – but reducing them would cost the government hundreds of millions of euros, without making a marked difference. Even a simple €0.01 cut at the pumps would cost the government €0.5 billion, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire claimed recently.

“It is very costly for a result that French people won’t even notice,” he said.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Driving in France: Motorway tolls rise from February 1st

The cost of using France’s motorway network rose by a below-inflation average of 4.75 percent on Wednesday, February 1st.

Driving in France: Motorway tolls rise from February 1st

Going through the toll booths on France’s motorway network now costs more – though the average 4.75 percent increase remains below inflation, and is lower than the price rise of between 7 percent and 8 percent predicted last September after Transport Minister Clément Beaune called for “reasonable increases”.

“We are well below the reference inflation rate of 6.33 percent,” Vinci Autoroutes, which manages nearly half of the French network, said in a statement.

Even so, motorists may not appreciate the motorway companies’ efforts to ease the effects of the cost of living crisis, as prices rise unevenly across the board.

A journey from Toulon, in the Var, to Mandelieu, in Alpes-Maritimes (113km) now costs €13 in tolls, up from €12.10 in 2022 – an increase of 7.4 percent.

Drivers heading between Lyon and Montpellier now have to pay an extra €1.90 to make their journey, up 6.7 percent on last year’s prices; and motorists will have to pay an additional €2.10 to make the five-hour journey along the A4 between Paris and Strasbourg.

In recent years, the annual rate of the annual increases has been lower. Tolls went up 2 percent on average last year, and just 0.44 percent in 2021. The annual increases are based on a formula that takes into account the rate of inflation and the amount of maintenance work undertaken, which is written into the motorway operators’ contracts with the government.

For home-work trips, Vinci Autoroutes has frozen the prices of 70 percent of trips of less than 30 km, as well as “half of trips of less than 50km and the bypass routes of 35 towns”.

The stretches between Aubagne and Cassis (Bouches-du-Rhône) on the A50, between Villefranche-de-Lauragais and Toulouse sud (Haute-Garonne) on the A61, and between Orléans nord and Olivet (Loiret) on the A10, for example, will see no price increase.

Subscribers to the Ulys 30 electronic toll system, meanwhile, now receive 40 percent concessions, compared to 30 percent previously on their regular commuter route.

According to Vinci, for every €10 in tolls, €4 is then paid to the government in taxes; €3.50 covers maintenance, modernisation and operating costs; and the remainder repays investors and services debts.

However, motorway operators are regularly singled out for the scale of their profits, recorded at €3.9 billion in 2021, 11 percent more than in 2019. 

If you’re driving in French towns and cities, remember that you may need a Crit’Air sticker – full details HERE.

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