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France to take further action over record fuel prices

‘We will extend the cap on gas tariffs until the end of the year,’ Ecological Transition minister Barbara Pompili also announced today

A ‘resilience plan’ including measures to combat rising fuel prices will be outlined by the French government next week Pic: VGstockstudio / Shutterstock

France is to take further action aimed at addressing the continued rise in fuel prices - with details set to be outlined next week, it was announced today.

“We are already protecting people in France with relation to electricity and gas prices," said Ecological Transition minister Barbara Pompili on Franceinfo this morning (March 4). 

Read more: Regulated prices keep France’s electricity cheaper than EU neighbours

Read more: Gas prices to be capped for three million households in France

“We will extend the cap on gas tariffs until the end of the year,” Ms Pompili added, assuring that the government plans to “protect all those who will be affected by this rise in prices, whether they be motorists or business owners.” 

She said new measures would be detailed next week and would be part of President Emmanuel Macron’s ‘social and economic resilience plan.’

However, the minister also warned that: “This war [in Ukraine] will not be painless. We will see consequences in our country. We are not in an echo chamber.”

How are fuel prices looking now? 

The already rising price of fuel has been accelerated further by the conflict in Ukraine, and the president of the Système U retailers cooperative has predicted a “brutal increase” in the coming weeks. 

The price of a barrel of crude oil currently exceeds $110. 

In France, these high prices have pushed the cost of petrol and diesel up to an all time high. SP98 is currently nearing €1.90 per litre, with SP95 at €1.85 and diesel around €1.77.

At some petrol stations, the price of SP98 has even exceeded €2 per litre.

Read more: Conflict in Ukraine: Petrol prices hit record highs in France

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%.

The euro has also grown weaker against the dollar, which is exacerbating the price surge.

In addition to fuel prices, the conflict in Ukraine could impact French food supplies. Some 30% of global wheat exports originate from Ukraine and Russia, as well as three quarters of sunflower oil. 

Considering the number of products which contain wheat and sunflower oil, the stall in exports could have a significant knock-on effect on a long list of common foodstuffs.

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