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

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
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)

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.

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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. 

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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."

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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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