Today (April 1) marks the beginning of the French government’s 15-18-cent-per-litre fuel discount, which will last until July 31.
All drivers can benefit, no matter the fuel that they are using. This has led to concerns over long queues for fuel, as people all decide to make the most of the new prices.
How much will I save?
The discount will range from 15 to 18 cents per litre of fuel, depending on your region of France.
The amount will depend on the VAT rate in your area. In mainland France, VAT is applied at 20%, meaning that the maximum 18-cent discount will be applied.
However, in Corsica, where VAT is at 13%, the discount will be 17 cents per litre, and in overseas departments where there is no VAT attached to petroleum products, only 15 cents will come off the price of each litre.
This means that for 50 litres of fuel, consumers will save €9 in mainland France, €8.50 in Corsica and €7.50 in overseas departments.
Some suppliers have also decided to launch additional deals and voucher offers to supplement the government scheme.
For example, people filling up at TotalEnergies petrol stations will see a further 10 cents come off their bill.
Who will benefit from the discount?
All drivers in France will benefit from the discount, which applies both to members of the public and professional drivers, and is not means-tested.
It “will help everyone, including professionals who are exempt from [fuel] taxes,” Prime Minister Jean Castex said earlier this month.
How do I claim the discount?
Drivers do not need to do anything to claim the discount, which will be automatically applied at the pump.
The government had initially announced that the real fuel price would continue to be displayed and the discount would only be applied on payment, but now it has decided to take the 15-18 cents off the rates displayed outside petrol stations.
Which fuels are included?
All fuels will be included in the discount scheme.
The government had initially excluded LPG and natural gas, but has now changed its mind.
For reference, the discount will be applied to:
Fishing boat diesel
SP95, SP98, SP95-E10
Natural gas for vehicles
However, it should be noted that additional deals launched by supermarkets and other suppliers may not include all of the same fuels.
Has the discount already been applied at all petrol stations today?
Service station tanks must be empty of the old fuel at the old price, before they can be filled with more fuel at the lower price.
Some smaller, independent petrol stations only refill their tanks “every 10 or 20 days,” so the government is offering them an advance of €3,000 to enable them to apply the discount from today.
This advance will have to be repaid “by September 16 at the latest.”
Therefore, although it had been believed that some petrol stations would continue to charge higher prices for the next few days, this will no longer be the case.
What will happen after July 31?
Prime Minister Jean Castex has already announced that the government is working on a “slightly different measure” which will come into effect after the discount comes to an end.
This scheme will be targeted at “those on low incomes and those who drive a lot.”
Will there now be a rush on fuel?
The government discount – and associated offers from supermarkets and other brands – will surely lead to a rise in the number of people going to fill up their cars.
“We have noticed a decline in the volumes being delivered to petrol stations over the last few days,” Frédéric Plan of the Fédération française des combustibles, carburants et chauffage (FF3C) told La Dépêche.
“We assume that this slowdown shows that motorists are waiting for the discount to come in.”
The government has said that “operators have worked to refine the logistical processes to allow [stations] to be replenished quickly.
“We predict that there will be stations here and there that run out of petrol temporarily. But they would not be an abnormal situation considering the big drop in prices.”
The fuel discount will cost the French state €3billion, but the sharp rise in fuel prices over the last few months has already brought in €2billion in taxes.