The idea seems preposterous and it’s on track to be a flop! Large retail brands have no desire to sell automobile fuel at a loss. This Wednesday, they rejected this suggestion from the government, which plans to legislate to authorize what the law currently prohibits. The executive is clearly banking on a price war to relieve motorists’ wallets.
The issue is economic, but also political. Inflation has been weighing on the accounts of businesses and households for eighteen months. Russia’s war in Ukraine and sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s regime have caused a brutal shock to the cost of energy. Too happy to take advantage of it, the hydrocarbon producing countries have done nothing to calm prices. The increase in prices has had repercussions throughout the industrial chain. In the end, it is the consumer who pays. The drop in purchasing power is noticeable for the most modest. And the opposition does not hesitate to fuel the discontent.
Fearing another episode of the “yellow vest” type, the government seems in dire straits. His solution would undermine a fundamental rule aimed at guaranteeing fairness in competition between companies. Selling at a loss would be a bonus to the largest distributors, in this case TotalEnergies. Mastering the entire hydrocarbon sector, including refining where margins are very high, the oil group, which records mega-profits, can afford to guarantee a maximum price of €1.99 per liter – it has warned that he would not go below. To help the lowest incomes, the government must find other solutions.