Supermarket deals, apps: How to find the best petrol prices in France

As prices continue to rise to new records, we look at supermarket offers and ways to find cheaper petrol stations around the country

19 October 2021

Car-sharing is becoming an increasingly popular option for short daily trips due to petrol price increases, the website Blablacar has said Pic: kckate16 / Shutterstock

By Joanna York

Prices for fuel have risen again this week in France.

Diesel prices are up two centimes, hitting a new record high of €1.576/litre, and prices for SP95 are up just over two centimes and are now the highest they have been for 10 years, at €1.666/litre.

Prices for SP95-E10 have also risen to €1.644/litre, according to independent comparison website, Carbu.com.

Read more: Diesel prices reach historic highs in France

With prices likely to remain high for the foreseeable future, we explain how to find the cheapest petrol prices near where you live.

1. Smartphone apps and websites

Multiple smartphone apps, such as Essence&CO, Zagaz, Mobicarbu, 1-2-3 Fuel or Gaspal can help you find the cheapest prices in your area.

  • Essence&CO allows you to keep track of your budget by tracking your fuel consumption. Available on : Apple & Android
  • 1-2-3 Fuel gives you the option of a price alert, which sends notifications to your phone when fuel prices at your selected stations drop. Available on Apple & Android
  • Gaspal, like Essence&CO, offers a budget tracking tool. It also allows you to find the cheapest gas station on a particular route and follow the petrol prices of your chosen suppliers, including Total, Intermarché and Shell. Available on Apple & Android
  • Zagaz has a ‘warning’ mode for motorway journeys which displays information of local petrol stations. Available on Android 

Generally, users are directed towards large out-of-town supermarkets, which do not rely solely on petrol sales for turnover.

Francis Pousse, president of Les Distributeurs de carburants et énergies nouvelles for professional drivers’ advisory body CNPA, told Franceinfo: “Supermarkets use their petrol stations as loss leaders”, meaning products that they can afford to lose money on if it means attracting more customers into the main store.

He added that, in “traditional service stations, petrol sales can represent 60% of the total turnover,” meaning prices are often higher.

2. Government price tracker

The French government also tracks petrol prices in real time on the Economy Ministry website.

Users can select the type of fuel they wish to buy, the location in which they wish to buy it and the type of petrol station they wish to use, in order to see locations on a map.

BFMTV has used information on the site to make interactive maps showing the five cheapest petrol stations in each department to buy diesel and SP95 fuel.

The cheapest locations to buy diesel

The cheapest locations to buy SP95

However, note that the data included is from October 17, and out of 13,000 petrol stations analysed, 3,500 did not have any prices for either fuel.

3. Supermarket offers

Different supermarkets are running offers on petrol to keep costs lower.

Leclerc has said it will sell petrol at cost price until the end of the month, as are some Casino stores.

In the Leclerc supermarket where petrol currently costs the cheapest in France, this means that customers will pay €1.480/litre of diesel, or €37 to fill a 25 litre tank.

Casino has also announced that in 32 hypermarkets, where petrol is not being sold at cost price, it will give customers vouchers equivalent to the difference between the price paid for a litre of fuel and €1.

For example, a customer who buys 25 litres of fuel at €1.56/litre will pay €39 for the fuel and receive a €14 voucher, making the final bill €25.

Carrefour has also said it will offer customers who buy at least 25 litres of fuel in its petrol stations a €5 gift voucher, or €5 worth of points on their loyalty cards from tomorrow (October 20).

A litre of diesel from the supermarket chain costs €1.529, or €38.225 for 25 litres. With a €5 discount, this brings the price down to around €33 for a full tank.

Increasing interest in car sharing 

Car sharing websites are also reporting increased interest from users in light of rising fuel prices.

Blablacar said it had seen a 15% increase in the number of journeys offered by drivers in the past three weeks, going up 50% for ‘Blablacar Daily’ trips, which are for short journeys, often to and from work places.

Driver Nicolas told BFMTV: “Between petrol and toll booth costs, you can pay €200-250 a month. Sharing rides means you get back €50-100 of that.”

The Transport Ministry estimates that 900,000 people in France currently use ride-sharing options on a daily basis, and it aims to increase this to three million by 2024.

It said: “This would mean we could reduce the number of cars on the road everyday by one million, and save 7,800 tonnes of daily CO2 emissions.”

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