France announces 2.0-bn-euro fuel aid package

AFP , Sunday 13 Mar 2022

The French government has announced a package worth 2.0 billion euros ($2.2 billion) to help consumers struggling with soaring fuel prices, with the cost of filling up set to be cut at the pump.

Gas station in Marseille, France
A car arrives in a gas station where prices are up to 2,31 euros per liter (US dlls. 2.56) in Marseille, southern France, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. AP

French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced late Saturday that petrol and diesel prices would be reduced by 15 centimes per litre.

The bill will be slashed by this amount when vehicle owners pay, with the state then reimbursing gas station owners for the difference.

"That means every time you fill up for 60 euros, you save around nine euros," Castex said.

With petrol prices now topping two euros per litre at the pump in some areas, the government has come under pressure to reduce the impact on households.

It has also been under pressure to cut fuel taxes ahead of presidential elections next month, with more than half of prices at the pump made up of taxation.

Underlying petrol and diesel costs are linked to global oil markets which have risen by around 30 percent since the start of the year due to strong global demand and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Last October, the government of President Emmanuel Macron announced a cap on gas and electricity prices until the end of 2022 and handed out cheques to poor households to help them with their domestic energy bills

Eight out of 10 French households have a vehicle, according to official statistics.

Polls suggest Macron is the frontrunner in elections on April 10 and 24.

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