Petrol giant TotalEnergies has announced it will continue to cap fuel prices at €1.99 per litre at the pump “as long as prices remain high.”
Last week, the group announced that the measure would be extended to the end of 2023, but has now said it will be continued into 2024.
TotalEnergies said the commitment would remain in place until petrol prices become cheaper, citing an “effort of solidarity”.
It will mean that in service stations controlled by the group in France, prices will not go above €1.99 even if fuel prices continue to climb.
“I thank Total… for taking their responsibilities, and I expect other fuel suppliers and distributors [to do the same],” said Energy Transition Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher.
Some other service station operators, including supermarket giant Intermarché, have already announced similar measures.
Prices are currently on the rise again
Fuel prices are once again rising – on average petrol has been selling for €1.93 per litre and diesel at €1.88 per litre in France in recent weeks.
These are the highest prices for petrol since April 2023 and since February of this year for diesel, according to statistics from the Ministry of Energy Transition.
In the last 12 months fuel consumption in France has dropped 1.7%, thought in part to be due to the increased cost.
Other supermarkets may bring in offers
The Energy Transition Minister was due to meet with a number of leaders in the sector today (September 12) to try to work out further deals for consumers.
Supermarket chain Intermarché announced earlier that it would sell fuel at cost price throughout its petrol stations during the last weekend of each month from September.
Its rival Casino stated it will sell fuel at cost price every weekend Friday through Sunday between today and October 22.
At smaller, independent service stations, however, such measures are impossible to introduce.
“You have to run the service stations, pay the electricity bills and maintain the equipment so selling fuel is not possible,” said one industry representative.
The government is also unwilling to bring in tax cuts – even though tax represents around 60% of the total cost of fuel.
It would cost around “€12billion for 10 centimes of savings [per person per litre]. It's an indiscriminate and very costly measure for a less than convincing result", said government spokesman Olivier Véran.
Why TotalEnergies' actions are important
In most media conversations about the price of fuel in France, TotalEnergies is the first name mentioned.
Although other companies (mostly supermarkets) operate service stations throughout the country, much of their fuel is supplied by TotalEnergies.
TotalEnergies directly controls – or provides fuel to – around 3,400 service stations across France.
Additionally, it controls four of France’s seven main oil refineries, and the country’s only biorefinery, and is one of the ‘big seven’ global oil companies.
The company's revenue was $164billion in 2022, according to data from Fortune 500.