Call for car fuel at €1.50/litre in France: One million sign petition

Current prices equate to ‘paying a ransom for the right to drive’, says leading driving association

Prices for petrol are hovering around €1.99, prompting a leading drivers’ association to launch a petition calling for a cap

More than one million people have signed a new petition calling for vehicle fuel to cost €1.50 per litre.

The leading French motoring association 40 Millions d’Automobilistes launched the petition on Wednesday, April 10. 

In just 48 hours, the page had gathered more than a million signatories.

Currently, petrol prices are hovering around €1.99 per litre, and diesel at €1.81, on average.

"We call on the government to act urgently to reform fuel taxation, to moderate prices and maintain the mobility and purchasing power of French households,” said Pierre Chasseray, general delegate of the association, to France Bleu.

He said that rising prices were costing “an average additional cost of just over €200 a year for each driver”, with rates having risen by 32 centimes for SP95 and 21 centimes for  diesel in the past year.

Fuel taxes, which account for 60% of the final price, are also “excessive”, he said.

"When you go to the pump, you're no longer paying a price, you're paying a ransom for the right to drive, and that's unacceptable,” said Mr Chasseray.

The petition is reminiscent of the 2018 gilets jaunes movement, which began with a petition on fuel prices. Launched by Priscillia Ludosky, it too exceeded one million signatures very quickly, and the movement eventually led to months of protests against the government.

Will more fuel aid be introduced in France?

After the pandemic, when fuel prices began to rise considerably, the government introduced nationwide rebates on fuel. Yet, these gradually tapered out, and finally came to an end in December 2022.

In 2023, the government introduced new financial aid for working people who rely on their vehicles. 

The ‘indemnité carburant travailleur (compensation for fuel for working people)’, took the form of a €100 cheque for the lowest-income workers in France. This equated to around six million people.

Read also: France new €100 fuel aid applications now open: who is eligible? 

Read more: ‘Worker fuel allowance’ to benefit half of French households, PM says 

No new measures have been confirmed for 2024.

However, last year, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire suggested that a new cheque could be introduced if and when prices per litre approached or exceeded €2. He even mentioned an ‘emergency threshold’ of €1.95 per litre. 

Prices for petrol are currently higher than this, but are not as high as they have been in the past.

Mr Le Maire has contacted fuel company TotalEnergies to ask them to maintain their €1.99 per litre price cap for the rest of the year.

He said: “I myself asked for it to be extended to 2024, and I salute the effort made by Total to maintain this cap. It is an absolutely essential safety measure for motorists.”

Chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies, Patrick Pouyanné, has also said that this cap could be maintained “beyond” 2024. At a press conference in February, he said: “Today, 500 of our 3,400 service stations have a price cap. This is a useful measure.” 

He said that the company was focusing on camping prices at the pumps rather than giving discounts. 

“It's much better than giving discounts to everyone. The cap will primarily benefit rural areas, the provinces and motorways,” he said.