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DRIVING

French petrol stations run dry with fuel prices set to rise from Wednesday

Motorists across France have rushed to fill up their cars before Wednesday, when both the the French government and one of the country's biggest petrol giants decrease their subsidies on petrol and diesel.

French petrol stations run dry with fuel prices set to rise from Wednesday
A gasoline nozzle at a TotalEnergies fuel station in Paris (Photo by JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP)

The price of fuel will increase for drivers in France this week, when the government’s fuel rebate, intended to help motorists cope with high fuel prices, drops from 30-cents-per-litre to 10-cents-per-litre on Wednesday, November 16th.

Additionally, fuel provider TotalEnergies, who had also given motorists a discount at the pump at their service stations, will decrease their discount from €0.20 to €0.10 on Wednesday. 

Ahead of the reduction, long queues have formed in front of service stations could get longer, with motorists seeking to benefit from the fuel subsidy before it drops.

On Monday, 21 percent of service stations in France were out of at least one fuel, and 13 percent were completely dry, with areas such as Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and the Paris region most impacted. 

The French news organisation, Le Monde, has published a live map outlining which stations across France have fuel in stock. You can consult it HERE.

Originally, the government fuel rebate of €0.30 was set to only last until November 1st, but the French Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, announced an extension until mid-November. 

Some motorists have already discussed their hopes for the subsidy to be elongated. Taxi driver, Gaétan Jeune, told AFP that “we would like it to be renewed.” He went on to explain that “It is in everyone’s interest if it continues like this, otherwise it will generate tension.”

Jeune also referenced worries that the 2018 protest movement – the Yellow Vests – sparked over fuel prices could return. “I hope that the yellow vests will not come back”, he told AFP.

However, due to high costs, the French government has already announced that the €0.30 subsidy is not set to be extended again. French Minister of Public Action and Accounts, Gabriel Attal told LCI on Monday that the rebate cost “€7 billion this year” and that the additional 15 days cost “€440 million.”

Attal explained that “[the subsidy] was extended because many French people had supply difficulties because of the [refinery] strikes.” Industrial action by refinery workers in October led to widespread fuel shortages across the country, particularly in the North and the Paris region for nearly one month.

Nevertheless, the government aid of €0.10 will remain in force until the end of the year, or December 31st.

The rebate is paid by the government to filling stations, and means that drivers are charged the price including the discount when they pay at the pump.

The €0.10 discount offered by TotalEnergies, which is available at all of the oil and gas giant’s stations across France, will also remain in place until the end of the year. 

After the government fuel rebate terminates at the end of the year, Attal told LFI that he envisions that targeted measures to help motorists will be put in place. These will likely be announced “in the coming weeks”, according to the budget minister.

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ENERGY

France offers grants up to €1,500 to replace oil-fired boilers

Financial aid of up to €1,500 is temporarily available to households looking to replace oil-fired boilers with a more environmentally friendly heating systems. 

France offers grants up to €1,500 to replace oil-fired boilers

The temporary ‘coup de boost’ aims to encourage households to replace their oil-fired heating systems (chauffauge au fioul) and is in addition to the ‘coup de pouce chauffage’ (heating helping hand) scheme that is already underway to help under the energy saving certificates scheme (CEE).

All households that are primary residences – this aid is not available to second-home owners – equipped with an oil-fired boiler can benefit, with the amount for which they are eligible means-tested according to household resources and the replacement system chosen. 

Households with modest incomes benefit from a higher premium.

To benefit from the new temporary bonus, households must replace their individual oil-fired boiler with a more environmentally friendly heating system:

  • heat pump (air/water or hybrid);
  • combined solar system;
  • biomass boiler (wood or pellets);
  • connection to a heating network supplied mainly by renewable or recovered energy.

The total amount of financial help from the two schemes is €4,000 to €5,000 for low-income households; and from €2,500 to €4,000 for middle and high-income households.

For the connection of an individual house to a heating network, the amount of the bonus increases from €700 to €1,000 for low-income households; and from €450 to €900 for middle and high income households.

Estimates for the replacement of an oil-fired boiler must be accepted between October 29th, 2022, and June 30th, 2023, and work must be completed by December 31st, 2023.

The Coup de boost fioul aid can also be combined with MaPrimeRénov to replace an oil-fired boiler, meaning the least well-off households in France can benefit from aid of up to €16,000 to replace an oil-fired boiler with a pellet boiler or a combined solar system.

Since mid-April 2022, MaPrimeRénov’ financial aid has increased by an additional €1,000 for the installation of a renewable energy boiler. This can now reach €11,000 for the most efficient boilers (pellet boiler, combined solar system) and for households with modest incomes.

It must be noted that the installation of a very high energy performance gas boiler will no longer be eligible for MaPrimeRénov’ as of January 1st, 2023.

Find more details on the scheme HERE.

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