French petrol and diesel prices have reached an all time high in recent days, encouraging people to turn to price comparison apps enabling them to opt for the cheapest price available.
Last week the price of a litre of diesel had risen four centimes on the previous seven days, costing €1.74 on average, with SP95 coming in at €1.81 and SP98 at €1.88.
Diesel prices are currently 15% higher than they were when the gilets jaunes protests began at the end of October 2018, and SP95 is 17.5% more expensive.
Compared to the same time last year, diesel prices are now up 27%, SP95 prices are up 23% and SP98 prices are up 22%.
In some areas around Paris, fuel prices have topped €2 per litre and the rest of France is not far behind.
Rates have been rising for seven consecutive weeks now, and are linked to the sharp increase in the market price of fuel. In January, a barrel of Brent crude oil cost $87, which was at least a five-year record and which had a knock-on effect on consumer prices.
However, since Russia invaded Ukraine last week, this crude oil tariff has only risen further to around $102 per barrel, and is not set to come down any time soon.
Thierry Breton, who is European Commissioner for Internal Market, told LCI: “We should not shield ourselves from the truth, there will be an impact on the price of fuel, and doubtless on agriculture as well.”
However, the inflation linked to the conflict in Ukraine could be limited by “shock absorbers” put in place by the European Commission’s “tool box.”
The continued rise in the price of fuel threatens to cancel out the effect of government measures including the ‘inflation compensation’ €100 bonus, but the State has not yet made any announcements about the potential for additional public support.
An app which shows you the cheapest rates
We tried out Essence & Co, an app which lets users know the petrol and diesel prices at the different stations in their area, and also allows you to check supply.
Please note that the app may come up under the name Petrol, and not Essence & Co, depending on your phone settings.
Before Covid, Essence & Co had around 700,000 monthly users, but since last summer, that number has risen to about 1.5 million.
Users can open the app and see the petrol stations located within one, five, 20 or 50km of their location, along with their prices.
You do not have to create an account to use the app and it is possible to view a zoomed out map of an area or city to compare the different rates. Alternatively, you can save your home, work and other commonly frequented locations for a quick check of prices at your local stations.
If you are not close to home and do not know how to reach the petrol station you are looking at, the app can connect you to your maps feature, which will give you directions.
It is also possible to report a change in price, a lack of supply or the opening of a new petrol station in the area.
Essence & Co’s creators claim that regular users can save between €60 and €100 per year through the app. You can view the amount of money you have saved through a feature in the app.
Overall, the app is informative and easy-to-use, but the fact that the prices are often provided by users themselves means that there could potentially be a slight delay regarding updates.
Other available apps include Gasoil Now and Gaspal. You can also use the government site Prix-carburants.gouv to view the petrol prices and other car-related services in a given area, but this page is not as straightforward to use as a mobile app.