Sunday, October 1, 2023

Consumption. Are fuels more expensive in France than in the rest of Europe?

Given the persistence of inflation and the increase in prices at the pumps, the government issued the card to sell fuel at a loss – prohibited in France for 60 years – since the beginning of December. Today, the French must pay around 1.96 euros for a liter of diesel and 1.97 euros for a liter of 95 unleaded gasoline. Prices that place France in the high average of the European Union. But some of our neighbors are even worse.

According to figures from the European Commission from September 11, French motorists had to spend 1.88 euros for a liter of diesel on that date. Only Belgium (1.92), the Netherlands (1.89), Finland (1.97) and Sweden (2.15) had higher pump prices. The lowest prices can be found in Poland, Bulgaria, Lithuania or Romania.

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France is also in the high European range in terms of the price of 95 unleaded gasoline, according to data from the European Commission. As of September 11, a liter of SP95 cost an average of 1.96 euros at French service stations in France. However, French motorists obtained better results than Italians (1.97), Finns (1.99), Greeks (2) or Danes (2.06). It was in the Netherlands where the price of gasoline was, on that date, higher (2.11 euros).

As with diesel, the price per liter of gasoline was lower in Eastern Europe. On September 11 it only cost 1.39 euros in Poland, 1.42 euros in Bulgaria or 1.45 euros in Romania.

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Differences in taxes

Certainly, in all European countries, the increase in the price of a barrel of Brent since June has driven up fuel prices. But the differences in pump prices observed in Europe come in particular from the taxes applied in each country to gasoline and diesel.

In France, according to data from the European Commission, 52% of the price of SP95 and 49% of the price of diesel correspond to taxes applied by the State. Roughly equivalent taxes apply in much of Western Europe, in Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland and even Italy.

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Fuels: how is their price calculated in France?

However, these taxes are lower in Eastern Europe, resulting in prices on average lower than in France or its close neighbors. For example, diesel is only taxed at 38% in Romania, 40% in Bulgaria and 43% in Poland.

It should be noted that other factors also come into play in the disparities observed in the EU, such as distribution margins (cost of transporting fuel to service stations, etc.).

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