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TotalEnergies boosts fuel discount at French motorway stations

TotalEnergies to give fuel discounts at French motorways stations
TotalEnergies to give fuel discounts at French motorways stations Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022
By Reuters
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By Sudip Kar-Gupta and Dominique Vidalon

PARIS - TotalEnergies has increased a summer discount on French fuel prices by 2 cents as the government pressures companies to do more to help customers grappling with accelerating inflation.

The French energy giant said on Thursday it would offer a discount of 0.12 euros per litre on fuel at its motorway service stations in France from July 1 to Aug. 31.

TotalEnergies had already extended to end-August a 0.10 euros fuel rebate that expired on May 15. The 0.12 euros summer rebate is limited to its network of 123 stations.

This would result in an overall discount at TotalEnergies service stations of 0.30 euros per litre, including a French state discount of 0.18 euros that Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has offered to keep in place until the year-end.

"For several months now, rising energy costs have been pushing up fuel prices and weighing on people’s purchasing power in France, particularly those with the least to spend, for whom a car is indispensable for getting around," TotalEnergies said in a statement.

"In response, TotalEnergies is once again making a commitment to its customers in France with this summer discount, which is expected to reach about 17 million people."

A TotalEnergies spokesperson declined to comment on the impact the rebate would have on the group's margins.

He added TotalEnergies had "a positive view" towards a possible extension of fuel rebate measures.

LECLERC COULD FOLLOW

Asked if he would follow suit at his own petrol stations, Michel-Edouard Leclerc, the boss of French supermarket group Leclerc, told BFM television: "Leclerc's calling is to be the least expensive, we will follow suit or do something else,"

TotalEnergies' rivals Shell, Esso France and BP France were not immediately available for comment.

While hitting consumers, surging energy prices are fuelling record profits at some firms, prompting some governments to impose windfall taxes, as Britain has on gas and oil producers.

France has so far eschewed that path, urging companies instead to take action while leaving the threat of a windfall tax on the table.

Reacting to TotalEnergies' announcement, Finance Minister Le Maire said: "The inflation burden must be shared between public authorities and companies that benefit from higher prices."

"We will asses in the coming months what has been the true contribution of these companies."

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