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, 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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France pushes back plan to begin phasing out paper receipts for shoppers again

A new French anti-waste law – which could spell the end of paper sales receipts in France – which was set to go into effect in the new year has been pushed back for the second time, due to concerns around inflation.

France pushes back plan to begin phasing out paper receipts for shoppers again

Part of a French anti-waste law voted on in 2020, the new regulation to do away with automatically printed receipts (tickets de caisse) is now not set to come into force before the summer of 2023.

It had been due to come into effect on January 1st, 2023, before being pushed back to April 1st. 

“We don’t think it’s the right time for this measure to come into force,” the office of the Minister for Small Businesses, Olivia Gregoire, told Le Parisien daily. 

“We have feedback from the ground, we are having discussions with consumer associations and with large retailers, who tell us, that in the face of inflation, many French people want to check the accuracy of the amount [they’re spending] when they go shopping,” the office said. 

According to national statistics institute Insee, prices have climbed 6 percent over the course of the year from February 2022 to February 2023, with food prices jumping 14.8 percent over that period.

A new date is set to announced at the start of next week with two dates currently under discussion, according to Le Parisien – 1st August and 1st September.

“Our preference is for 1st August,” Gregoire’s office told the daily because “September is the time for back-to-school purchases so it risks being even more disruptive”.

However, even once the new rules comes into force, customers will still be able to request a printed receipt if they would like one. 

According to French government website Service-Public, there are at least 30 billion sales receipts printed each year, creating lots of waste.

Parts of the anti-waste law have already come into effect, outlawing things like single-use plastic cutlery and coffee and cups and limiting packaging on food.