towards a gesture of distributors?

    The Minister of Ecological Transition asks them to reduce their margins. Impossible, replies the representative of the independent owners of gas stations.

    Photo credit © Reuters

    ( – As fuel prices soar at the pump, the Minister of Ecological Transition, Barbara Pompili, “asked distributors to make a gesture in this difficult period, by reducing their margins.” reserves the possibility of bringing them together if necessary “, she announced during the questioning session to the government in the National Assembly.

    It must be said that the note is salty. The week ended October 8, the liter of diesel posted a national average of 1.5354 euros (+3.8 cts in one week), according to weekly data from the Ministry of Ecological Transition published on Monday. The previous record went back to October 2018 at the start of the yellow vests crisis. Remember that diesel remains the best-selling fuel in France, with around 80% of the volumes …

    A realistic request?

    Can distributors meet the minister’s request? Michel-Edouard Leclerc said he was ready to cut his margins to reduce prices at the pump but only if the state starts by lowering its fuel taxes. “There is not much under our feet today to lower our margins since we are already practically at cost price”, replied the chairman of the strategy committee of distributors E.Leclerc, on RMC.

    “It’s absolutely impossible,” said Francis Pousse, the national president of owner-operators of service stations at the National Council of Automotive Professions (CNPA), questioned on franceinfo. The average margins in the service stations that I represent are of the order of 0.7 to a maximum of 2 cents net on a liter of fuel sold. Fuel, we always have the same margin, regardless of the display price. So, unfortunately, we are absolutely unable to let go a little. And even imagine, if we decided to drop by half a cent, the impact is quite ridiculous, “he explains.

    VAT reduction

    “Whenever there are fuel increases, people look for alternative solutions. Carpool for example, public transport. Some of our stations, especially in rural areas, cannot be priced as competitively as supermarkets “, according to Francis Pousse.

    He recalls that the largest part of the price of fuel comes from TICPE, the internal tax on the consumption of energy products and VAT. “Today on a liter of diesel, it’s about 85 to 90 cents per liter that goes into the state coffers. If there is an effort to be made, it is for example to reduce the VAT. I do not see other solutions if we want to make fuel more affordable “, he says …

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