France to allow filling stations to sell petrol at a loss to combat inflation

© Philippe Lopez/AFP

France is set to loosen a 1963 law forbidding the sale of petrol at a loss in order to help fight inflation, as prices at the pump hover around two euros a litre.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said the government would enable stations to sell petrol at a loss for a few months to allow them to lower their prices.

“With this unprecedented measure, we will get tangible results for French people without subsidising fuel,” she said in an interview with the Parisien newspaper published at the weekend.

Companies should be contributing to cutting the cost of petrol, she said, defending the government’s decision to deny another rebate, as it did last year.

“The state’s responsibility is also to lower its deficit and its debt,” Borne said.

Government spokesperson Olivier Veran said allowing petrol to be sold at a loss could potentially cut the price by 50 cents a litre, he told RTL radio, though he warned,“We are not saying that petrol will drop to 1.40 euros [per litre] in all stations for six months”.

But independent stations say it will not be possible to stay in business if they sell petrol at a loss.

He said his members depend on petrol sales for at up to fifty percent of their turnover.

“If they sell at a loss, I give them three months [to survive],” he said.

Read more on RFI English

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