TotalEnergies to cap fuel prices rather than offer discounts in France

Petrol and diesel capped at €1.99 per litre at around 3,400 stations

The fuel cap is different to relief measures used in 2022
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The head of TotalEnergies has announced that it is implementing a fuel cap for certain petrol and diesel products at its service stations - affecting around 3,400 stations across France.

Most petrol and diesel products will be capped at a maximum of €1.99 per litre regardless of fluctuations in the market until the end of 2023, said CEO Patrick Pouyanné on TF1.

The cap will be implemented at motorway service-stations from this Saturday (February 25), with all other service-stations following on March 1.

Not all fuel is included, however; the ‘Excellium’ diesel and ‘sans-plomb 98’ products will not be subject to the cap.

Fuel cap not discount

Last year TotalEnergies implemented at-the-pump discounts of 20 and then 10 cents per litre on fuel.

The policy coincided with a government-funded discount. It is reported to have cost the company €550million over the four months that it ran.

The TotalEnergies group, which has its headquarters in Paris, announced a global net profit of €20billion for the year of 2022 earlier this month.

The new €1.99 fuel cap policy is different to the previous measure when the discount applied to all fuel purchased.

Fuel prices have not hit the €2 per litre level yet in 2023, and the average price for fuel is around €1.85 / €1.90 per litre depending on the type, according to government figures published on February 20.

The measure therefore is a preventative one, put in place in case of rising costs caused by the European embargo on Russian diesel, that began this month, alongside other potential factors

However, the longevity of the measure hints that prices may be expected to increase over the coming months.

The service stations run by TotalEnergies covers only around one-third of stations in France; none of the other service station owners have announced policies relating to either fuel caps or discounts for 2023.

Government supports bill

The announcement is a welcome one for the government and several ministers and President Macron have been calling for a gesture from TotalEnergies.

“I say to the boss of Total, who makes a lot [of profit] in the rest of the world: invest in France… and give back everything you can to the French, I think that will benefit our country,” said Agnès Pannier-Runacher, the Minister for Ecological Transition.

Last week, the government announced that applications to the €100 fuel aid for drivers on lower income levels has been extended until the end of March, due to slow uptake.

You can read our article to see if you are eligible for the fuel aid here.

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