Almost a month after being announced, the reduction in fuel prices comes into effect on Friday 1 April. The discount, which was to reach 15 cents per liter on diesel and gasoline, will finally be 18 cents per liter in mainland France, 17 cents in Corsica, and 15 cents in overseas territories, due to of the different VAT rates applicable in the territory.
Despite criticism from part of the political class, deeming the measure insufficient, it should still significantly reduce the bill for motorists, around €11 less for a full 60-litre tank at €2.
The government had initially planned that the boost is not displayed on the prices at the pump but that it appears only at the time of payment at the cash desk at the pump attendant. In this way, consumers would not have seen prices fall, which could encourage them to reduce their consumption, a good thing for the energy transition. “But due to technical implementation difficulties, this solution was abandoned”explains Bercy, who specifies that with a fuel price of more than €2 per litre, the French do not need to be reminded that fuel is expensive…
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Ultimately, the discount, which should cost the State 3 billion euros over four months, will therefore be carried out upstream, via central purchasing. In theory, the 11,000 service stations in the territory should be ready from this Friday, April 1, the discount being applied to wholesalers since last Sunday. In areas where the tanks are filled less often, small independent stations will be able to benefit from state advances. And to ensure that the discount is well passed on, the DGCCRF (General Directorate for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control) may lend itself to random checks.
Distributors get on board
In addition to the government rebate, some distributor networks have decided to add their own promotions. The Total group plans in particular to cash in an additional 10 cents. For its part, large retailers have multiplied their actions in recent weeks, even before the entry into force of the government rebate, provoking the anger of independent gas station attendants: operations at cost price for Leclerc, discount of 15 cents per liter at Carrefour; “one liter of fuel for one euro” at Casino, or even reusable vouchers from 30 € of purchase at Auchan…
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However, large fuel consumers, such as heavy goods vehicles, taxis, VTCs and other large wheelers, consider the measure very insufficient. This Wednesday, March 30, taxis demonstrated all over France, including a hundred gathered in front of the Ministry of Economy and Finance in Paris, to demand the establishment of a fuel price for professionals. At the beginning of the week, the VTC had mobilized for similar reasons.
Compared to other European countries, the French discount is not the most generous. Germany has indeed committed to a tax reduction of 30 cents on gasoline, and 14 cents on diesel, Italy is planning a rebate of 25 cents per liter for all fuels, and Spain 20 cents.