Deaths on French roads in 2020 at lowest level since WWII

Deaths on French roads dropped to their lowest level since World War II last year as Covid-19 restrictions sharply reduced car traffic, the national road safety agency said on Friday.

Deaths on French roads in 2020 at lowest level since WWII
Illustration photo: AFP

A total of 2,550 people died on the roads of mainland France, a drop of 21.4 percent from 2019.

The Securite Routiere agency said the fall was recorded in “exceptional” circumstances brought about by restrictions on movement due to the coronavirus pandemic, which had “a massive impact on road traffic”.

READ ALSO Births, marriages and a lot of deaths – what happened to France's demographics in 2020?


France imposed two lockdowns in 2020, as well as night-time curfews in areas where coronavirus cases were particularly high.    

The number of accidents resulting in injury and the number of injured people both fell by around 20 percent, the agency reported.

In the month of April alone – in the middle of France's first national lockdown – nationwide traffic plunged 75 percent compared to a typical pre-Covid month.

Overall car deaths fell by more than average in 2020, which the agency said was due to motorists aged over 75 cutting down on trips more than the rest of the population.

But deaths among truck drivers showed little change, as freight traffic continued close to normal levels.

The number of cyclists killed eased back only marginally, which the agency said was due to a sharp rise in the use of bicycles as people switched from public transport to bikes.

The increase in bicycle use was particularly noticeable in non-urban areas where cyclists are more likely to be killed because people tend to drive faster in the countryside, it said.

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Which fuel providers in France sell the cheapest petrol and diesel?

As motorists are hit with rising petrol and diesel prices, it's important to know which providers are selling the cheapest fuel albeit much depends on where you might be driving.

Which fuel providers in France sell the cheapest petrol and diesel?

Fuel prices have been on the rise in France in recent months – so much so that President Emmanuel Macron announced a new fuel subsidy to help low-income drivers, which will come into force next year. 

The government has asked fuel distributors to Carrefour, Leclerc, Intermarché, Système U, Casino and Auchan to sell at a loss – something that so far has been categorically refused.

In response, President Macron indicated that the government would push distributors to sell petrol and diesel at “cost price”. It may be some time before a universal settlement covering all service stations, which would lower bills for motorists, can be reached.

READ ALSO Who could benefit from France’s planned new fuel subsidy?

But the price you can pay for fuel in France varies widely depending on which petrol station you have stopped at, in other words Total, BP or Intermarché and also where you are driving, whether on a motorway or in a town.

The following rankings are susceptible to evolve as service stations begin to roll out special offers, from September 9th onwards. 

Non-motorway service stations

If you are filling up your car at a non-motorway service station and are looking to cut costs, you are probably best off seeking out Leclerc and Système U, while avoiding the likes of BP, Avia and ENI. 


According to data collated by French news channel, BFMTV, the top three cheapest non-motorway service stations to buy diesel are as follows: Système U (€1.917 per litre), Leclerc (€1.918 per litre) and Auchun (€1.926 per litre).

The top three most expensive providers are BP (€2.09 per litre), Avia (€2.039) and ENI (€2.019 per litre). 

SP95-E10 (Unleaded petrol)

SP95-E10 is a commonly sold unleaded petrol blend, suitable for most cars manufactured after 2000. It contains around 90 percent regular unleaded petrol and 10 percent biofuel and is widely sold in France. 

According to the BFMTV data, the top three cheapest service stations to sell SP95-E10 are: Leclerc (€1.908 per litre), Système U (€1.912 per litre) and Intermarché (€1.92 per litre). 

The top three most expensive providers are: BP (€2.091 per litre), Avia (€2.45 per litre) and ENI (€2.04 per litre)

SP98 (Unleaded petrol)

SP98 has a higher octane content than SP95-E10 and is better suited for high-performance engines and some older cars, made before the era of unleaded petrol. It is still widely sold in France. 

The three cheapest service stations to sell SP98 are as follows: Leclerc (€1.988), Total (€1.989), Intermarché (€1.992).

The three most expensive service stations selling this fuel are: BP (€2.213), ENI (€2.141) and AVIA (€2.104).

Motorway service stations

If you want to fill up on the motorway, prices are slightly different – and generally more expensive. BP, once again, is the priciest provider across all fuel types. 


From lowest to highest, these are the average diesel prices currently offered by the main service station operators on French motorways: Total (€1.984), Esso (€2.023), Shell (€2.127), ENI (€2.152), BP (€2.248). 

SP95-E10 (Unleaded petrol)

The lowest to highest ranking of SP95-E10 providers operating on French motorways is as follows: Total (€1.983), Esso (€2.052), ENI (€2.154), Shell (€2.169), BP (€2.252). 

SP98 (Unleaded petrol)

For SP98, the lowest to highest ranking of motorway service station providers, based on price, is as follows: Total (€1.99), Esso (€2.154), ENI (€2.261), Shell (€2.284), BP (€2.236). 

Special offers

Starting from September 29th, Leclerc is set to start selling petrol at cost price across all 750 of its fuelling stations located next to its supermarkets. This would make it the cheapest provider on the market. Company President, Michel-Edouard Leclerc has said that this would be a daily offer, but declined to say how long it would last.

Other sellers have also made special offers to sell fuel at cost price including Intermarché (29th and 30th of September, 27th and 28th of October, 24th and 26th of November, and 15th and 16th of December) and Système U (7th and 8th of October). These providers however have not committed to selling at cost price on a daily basis, unlike Leclerc.