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French fuel shortages: Which professionals are being prioritised?

People employed in certain sectors are being allowed to use dedicated pumps although in some areas they are still struggling to fill up due to low stocks

We look at the professionals who are being given priority access to fuel Pic: Kekyalyaynen / Shutterstock

Around one in three French petrol stations are currently experiencing shortages of one or several types of fuel as a result of strikes which began in TotalEnergies and Esso-ExxonMobil refineries on September 27. 

Just over 30% of petrol stations are affected, according to figures from the ecological transition ministry.

Read more: French fuel shortage: How to check stocks at your local petrol station

In order to avoid stockpiling, the government has asked departmental prefectures to temporarily ban people from filling up jerry cans with petrol. Some local authorities have also imposed limits on the number of litres people can buy. 

People employed in certain professions for which driving is deemed essential are also being prioritised across the country. 

These groups may vary slightly across different departments, but generally include: 

  • Ambulance drivers 
  • Police officers and gendarmes 
  • Emergency healthcare workers 
  • Any other emergency vehicles 

In some places, taxi drivers and funeral services are also included in the priority list. 

These professionals often have pumps reserved for them in petrol stations, although in some areas they have still struggled to find a place with stocks. 

The Fédération des infirmiers (nursing federation) is calling for pumps to be dedicated to nurses as well. 

“Nurses can cover up to 250km in a day, which means that they go to fill up every two or three days,” general secretary Julien Buringer said. 

As the strikes continue and the strain on fuel stocks grows, some petrol stations have even had to hierarchise the different priority professions.

Related articles 

Around a week for French fuel shortages to end, Macron estimates

French fuel prices rise over €2 a litre in places amid shortages

French fuel shortages: jerry cans to be banned to prevent stockpiling

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