The French government has opened the possibility of authorizing the sale of fuel at a loss from December in order to reduce the impact of inflation on households.
“It will come into force from the beginning of December, I hope on December 1st,” said Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire on France 2 television this Monday.
The sale of fuel at a loss has been banned in France since 1963. To implement this measure, Parliament must pass a law, which Le Maire said will be debated in October.
If the measure is approved, the question also arises as to which gas stations will apply it, especially when the sale of fuel is the main source of income for independent networks.
Hydrocarbon giant TotalEnergies, which operates a third of France’s 10,000 gas stations, said it would maintain its current measure capping fuel prices at 1.99 euros per liter ($2.12) next year.
Over the summer, the price of fuel shot up, to around 2 euros per liter, and the increase could continue in the coming months as global demand outstrips supply.
At the end of 2021, the government of liberal President Emmanuel Macron adopted a series of measures to limit the rise in energy prices and has already begun to withdraw them.
“The state alone cannot bear the costs of inflation, otherwise the deficit will increase,” argued the economics minister, who wants to involve the “group of economic actors”.
Inflation in France was 4.9% year-on-year in August, driven by an increase in the energy sector to 6.8%. Groceries rose 11.2% year-over-year.
In June, the Court of Auditors called on the government to make “significant efforts” to reduce its public deficit by 2027, which could reach 4.9% of GDP in 2023.