AA/Nice/Feïza Ben Mohamed
This Tuesday marked the last day when the French could benefit from a rebate of 30 centimes per liter granted by the State on fuels, and 20 centimes per liter in the service stations of the TotalEnergies group.
As of Wednesday, the State will only finance 10 cents per litre, and TotalEnergies aligns its rebate at the same amount, i.e. a total reduction from 50 to 20 cents.
Since the beginning of the week, French motorists have been engaged in a veritable rush to fuel distribution points to fill up, one last time before a price increase which could weigh very heavily on their budget.
– Long queues and shortages
According to figures released by the Ministry of Energy Transition on Tuesday, 21% of service stations are in difficulty on at least one fuel while 13% are completely dry.
On the Nice side, and in the Alpes-Maritimes department as elsewhere in France, long queues have been observed, especially during peak hours at most distributors.
Several gas stations are also out of fuel after strong demand from motorists in recent days, as noted by Anadolu Agency in several outlets.
“I’m not worried because the situation will quickly return to normal after the drop in the rebate” confides the manager of a Total Access station for whom “we are far from the shortages caused by the strikes”.
On the other hand, on the customer side, the discourse is somewhat different with a main apprehension: the explosion of prices.
At TotalEnergies on Tuesday, the price of a liter of diesel oscillated between 1.60 euro and 1.62 euro but it should, as of Wednesday, exceed the bar of 1.90 euro in most service stations.
“It’s a huge difference and we will have to consider taking transport so as not to be weighed down by the price of fuel in our budget”, worries Mathilde, a student lawyer, with the Anadolu Agency.
The young woman does not understand “why the government has not renewed the rebate for a few more months given the already unbearable prices”.
– The government wants to better target aid
On the air of the LCI channel, the Minister of Public Accounts, Gabriel Attal returned at length, Monday, to the tracks of the Executive in terms of aid to the financing of hydrocarbons.
“We must switch to more targeted devices (…) with help for heavy rollers and hard workers. It is the French who use their car to go to work, who often have trouble making ends meet,” he said.
According to him, the current rebate system accessible to all at the pump “also finances people from neighboring countries who come to fill up in France at the expense of the French taxpayer and, in a totally indiscriminate way, people who need it and ‘others not’.
A position that he largely defended at the Palais Bourbon where he was questioned on Tuesday by the opposition.
At the podium, Gabriel Attal assured that the rebate granted by the State has enabled each motorist to save 120 euros “to which are added 40 euros for those who have purchased from Total”.
Nevertheless, the minister stressed that this device cannot last over time and would stop completely at the end of the year “because behind the motorist who fills up, there is the taxpayer who pays”.
“We have only one compass, to continue to protect the French without letting the public accounts slip,” he concluded his explanation.
2023 is therefore a very difficult year for households, which is looming with the total cessation of discounts at service stations where prices should exceed 2 euros per liter, but also the planned increases in the price of electricity and gas, which will explode despite a price shield limited to 15%.
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