People in France could continue to benefit from the government’s 18-cent-per-litre fuel discount until the end of 2022, the finance minister has said.
Bruno Le Maire said that the measure, which was already set to continue over the summer, would be extended further “if economic conditions made it necessary”.
The fuel discount first came into effect in April and benefits all drivers buying diesel, SP95, SP98, SP95-E10, LPG and other, less common fuels.
Mr Le Maire said during an interview with Les Echos today (June 29) that the government’s “objective” is to “progressively reduce” the discount “from September, for a scheduled end in December”.
However, “we are conscious of the reality of petrol pump prices”, and so “why not envisage an extension [...] if economic conditions make it necessary, rather than plunging into other, extremely costly tax measures?”
Mr Le Maire also announced on Monday (June 27) that he is asking TotalEnergies to prolong or even boost its 10-cent-per-litre fuel discount, which it implemented to complement the government's own discount.
Mr Le Maire said that the effort had to be "equally shared out", and that everyone could not "rely on the state alone and on public spending".
TotalEnergies has already announced that it will prolong the measure throughout July and August.
Mr Le Maire’s appeal came as the chief executives of TotalEnergies, EDF and Engie called for people in France to “immediately” reduce their fuel and energy consumption in response to a risk of shortages and continued price rises this winter.
"The effort must be immediate, collective and massive. Every little counts," say Patrick Pouyanné (TotalEnergies), Jean-Bernard Levy (EDF) and Catherine MacGregor (Engie) in a rare joint open letter published in the Journal du dimanche (JDD).
“For months now, Europe’s energy system has been under significant strain and France’s system has not been spared.
“The surge in energy prices [...] is threatening our social and political cohesion and is having too heavy an impact on families’ spending power.
“Acting from this summer will allow us to be better prepared to manage next winter, and especially to conserve our gas reserves.”