Helping motorists, yes. Dip again from the state budget, no. To lower the price of fuel at service stations, the government intends to involve distributors, particularly supermarket and hypermarket brands with pumps. Even if it means going back on a half-century-old law.
While reselling at a loss has been prohibited in France since 1963, the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, intends “lift this ban” for some time, regarding fuel. “On an exceptional basis (…) and over a limited period of a few months”distributors will soon have the possibility of selling their petroleum products below the price at which they purchased them, she announced in an interview with Parisianposted online Saturday September 16.
According to a government source, the system will be presented to the Council of Ministers on Wednesday September 27. It will be part of the bill on commercial renegotiations between industrial suppliers and distributors.
As of Friday, September 8, the liter of unleaded 95 stood at 1.96 euros on average, up 8% over two months, and that of diesel, at 1.88 euros (+ 13%). For individuals, such a commercial operation could represent a saving of“half a euro” per litre, estimates government spokesperson Olivier Véran, interviewed on RTL on Sunday September 17.
You still need to have the necessary cash flow for such a resale at a loss. “The solution would be for the government to compensate distributors who do not have the means to apply this measure”declares Francis Pousse, president of Mobilians, a professional union which defends traditional networks, excluding large and medium-sized stores.
In 2022, conversely, the government itself granted several general rebates on the price of fuel. Up to 30 cents per liter, for a cost of 8 billion euros, according to INSEE. The system had more benefited the wealthiest households, who are among the heaviest riders: 64 to 115 euros for this category compared to 29 to 48 euros for the most modest. The executive did not renew it in 2023, instead reserving compensation of 100 euros for the lowest-income workers.
Furthermore, several major food retail brands (Intermarché, Système U, E.Leclerc, etc.) have already carried out operations at cost price in their service stations during the summer – that is to say without reaping any profits. , these establishments using fuel above all as a flagship product to attract customers.
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