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Fuel prices: eight questions on 18c refund starting in France in April

How will petrol stations show the new price, how long it will last, and will it apply to all petrol stations? We answer key questions on the coming reduction in fuel prices

A woman paying for petrol with a card at a pump

The new price for fuel will be applied upon payment, whether at a till or directly at the pump Pic: RossHelen / Shutterstock

From Friday, April 1, the vast majority of petrol stations in mainland France will begin offering a maximum of 18 centimes discount per litre of fuel, as pledged by the government. We answer key questions on how it will work.

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What is the measure? 

The measure, ‘la remise carburant’ in French, applies to all fuels except GPL and superéthanol-E85, for individuals and businesses. It will see consumers in mainland France given an 18 centime discount on the cost of each litre of fuel. 

It was announced by the government to help drivers save money as the price of oil soars due to the war in Ukraine.  

Will petrol stations show the new price? 

The real price of fuel will still be displayed on the signs at the front of petrol stations. The reduced price will be applied when paying.

Will all petrol stations offer the new price immediately on April 1? 

Most of the 11,000 petrol stations across France will apply the reduction but some will need to sell what remains in their tanks of the fuel sold at old prices, and await delivery of the newly-priced fuel, before they will make the switch. 

Read more: Not all petrol stations in France will offer discount on April 1

It is not thought to be obvious which stations will not offer the reduction on April 1, we advise you to ask the person in charge before fueling your vehicle.

For some, this could take up to three weeks. However, most stations will be ready on April 1.

All petrol stations, including those located on motorways, will eventually make the switch.

Why did the refund amount change from 15 centimes to 18? 

The government initially announced it at 15c, but this was changed to a maximum of 18c due to the cost of VAT. In mainland France VAT is applied at 20%, so the discount will be 18c, while in Corsica, for example, it is only at 13%, and so the discount will be 17c. 

This change will cost the state €3billion.

Read more: France’s fuel discount raised to maximum 18c per litre, instead of 15c

How long will the measure last? 

It is set to be applied from April 1 to July 31, 2022. These dates will remain unchanged even if the cost of fuel goes down significantly (but this is very unlikely as long as the war in Ukraine lasts), and the discount amount will remain the same even if the price of fuel increases.

Why was the measure not applied earlier? 

April 1 was chosen so that suppliers and petrol stations had time to “get things sorted”, said Prime Minister Jean Castex on March 12.

Will there be other offers on the price of fuel too? 

Supermarkets and fuel companies can choose to offer other discounts on top if they wish. 

TotalEnergies has said it will offer an extra 10 centimes off per litre from April 1, while supermarkets Auchan and Géant Casino are set to offer vouchers with purchases at the weekend (April 1 and 2). Other brands, such as Leclerc and Intermarché, may also bring back their “petrol at cost price” deals.

Read more: Where can I find petrol deals in France? 

Read more: Fuel prices in France: TotalEnergies to offer an extra 10 centimes off

Is is just an electioneering measure? 

The government has denied that it is offering the price refund as a ploy to appeal to voters ahead of the presidential elections. 

When asked, Ecology Minister Barbara Pompili said that the measure was not connected to the campaign.

She told RTL, somewhat sarcastically: “We have prices that are soaring at the pumps…and what, because there is a presidential campaign, we should have left our fellow citizens to cope with this price that is unprecedented over the past 30 years?"

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