Gas. Why is the TotalEnergies discount wreaking havoc in France?

Gas.  Why is the TotalEnergies discount wreaking havoc in France?

Since September 1, for motorists, it’s a bit like the black gold rush. Proof of this are the lines of cars that are lengthening at French service stations, since fuel prices have fallen sharply, after months of inflation. A real boost to the portfolio thanks to the effect of the new government discount and that of a distributor, TotalEnergies, whose stations are devastated, to the point of running out of fuel. But at competing stations, gas station attendants feel aggrieved.

Queues at the stations, bonuses at the pumps, disgruntled independent petrol station attendants… We explain why the Total bonus is wreaking havoc in France.

Also read: energy crisis. What to remember from Emmanuel Macron’s speech

discounts that accumulate

We knew the date on the calendar. September 1 was marked by the government’s increase in the fuel discount from 18 to 30 eurocents with taxes per liter in mainland France (28.25 eurocents with taxes per liter in Corsica and 25 eurocents with taxes per liter in Martinique, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Reunion and Mayotte). Exceptional help to support motorists in the face of price increases for months.

Added to this more than welcome rise is that of the French oil and gas giant TotalEnergies, which has decided to apply a discount at the pumps of 20 cents per liter in September and October at all its service stations, and then go to 10 cents the liter in November and December.

Total’s gesture responds to the request of the Government, which had called on the oil group to redouble its efforts to participate in the fight against inflation, considering the gestures made so far insufficient.

Rush at the stations, even at the borders

As a result of this double discount, motorists flock to Total stations to take advantage of a less expensive full tank, while prices, especially food, skyrocket with inflation. “It’s crazy”This was announced on Thursday, September 1, by the cashier of a Total Access service station in Nantes (Loire-Atlantique) with ocean press. “Since the opening this morning, it hasn’t stopped. I’ve never seen that. We have long queues”.

Motorists thus notice gains of several tens of euros on their bill, as a resident of Couvains (Manche) testifies to West of France : “We had waited this morning to refuel our two vehicles […]. That still saves €30 per top-up! ».

Border stations are the envy of neighboring countries. The Alsatian stations, in particular, receive many German customers, such as in Strasbourg, where on September 1, the SP95, for example, was €2.10 on the German side, compared to €1.46 on the French side. “Here it is much cheaper, it is drastic, look at the prices on the other side of the border! »a German testified to blue france .

Same strategic choice for the Belgians, who do not hesitate to cross the border to refuel in France. In Maubeuge (North), a town located ten kilometers from the border post, near Valenciennes, long queues were also observed, informs Telesambre . “I drove an hour to get here and frankly it’s worth the drive, especially since I get to do my grocery shopping”a Belgian motorist testified.

“Here, it’s 15 cents different from the bombs in Belgium. It is funny. Before, it was you French who came to us to fill. Now it’s the other way around.”points out another Belgian interviewed on Monday by The voice of the north at a Total station in Chapelle d’Armentières (North), near Lille.

diesel fuel breakdown

Stolen total stations, some already experiencing shortages. Arriving at many stations of the oil giant, motorists are forced to back up. Access to the pumps is prevented by traffic cones or signs. “out of fuel, please excuse us” they are attached to it.

This is the case of Fougères (Ille-et-Vilaine), near Rennes, where a TotalEnergies gas station was dry from the first day of application of the double discount. “We have never seen that”the manager testifies West of France.

Motorists also had to take their trouble patiently at a group station in Châteaubriant that faced the same problem.

Competitors’ Slingshot

But this rush for total stations irritates competitors. Sure franceinfo denounces the president of the Fuel and New Energies Distributors branch of the Mobilians union, Francis Pousse “an equity issue” for independent gas stations, reporting that “attendance has dropped from minus 30 to minus 40% in three days”.

Owner of an Esso station in Arnage (Sarthe), believes that “it’s the coup de grâce” for independent pump attendants. “The pump or two gasoline pumps that are essential in rural areas run the risk of disappearing in the short term because the station operators already maintain this activity with the margins of what works, such as their garage activity, to finance the station”regrets the deputy, who asks the Government to “an actual solution”.

As for the large distributors, the head of the Leclerc group, Michel-Edouard Leclerc, also asked that distributors who buy from Total also benefit from the 20-cent discount. “I wrote to Mr. Pouyanné, the head of Totalsaid in franceinfo . We ask you to give us the conditions to be able to sell 20 cents less […]. It says that it is giving a 20-cent discount to all of its customers, but it is giving a 20-cent discount only to customers in its network, not customers in our network.”he lamented, noting that his fuel also comes from TotalEnergies. “Leclerc customers, Carrefour customers, Avia customers, customers of small suppliers, who sell Total, who are supplied by Total, must be in Mr. Pouyanné’s promise”.

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