Total’s 20 cent discount, on top of the 30 cents from the State, caused a tidal wave at the stations, some of which had to close due to lack of supplies. The sanctioned competitors qualify the measure as unfair.
During the month of August, some French motorists restricted access to the pump to take advantage of higher discounts at the pump from September 1. And it’s clear that many of them at Total are flooded. The tanker adds the discount of 20 euro cents per liter, a discount that is added 30 cents from the government. This big discount is valid until October 31. She is going to 10 euro cents/litre from 1 November to 31 December. This program concerns almost 3,500 filling stations.
After exceeding 2 euros, the liter of fuel dropped to 1.34 euros per liter of SP95 and around 1.50 euros for diesel. According to Total, the savings can amount to “about 25 euros on a full 50 liters”. The flip side of the coin was that these bonuses caused a tidal wave in Total stations, some of which ran out in a matter of hours.
Empty tanks in the stations
The French, but also motorists from neighboring countries, let go this weekend at the beginning of the month. Almost everywhere, the discount created endless queues and rat races that even required the intervention of the police at some stations, as reported. Le Figaro. But especially the uncivilized behavior of some who, in addition to their tanks, also filled cans. An attitude reminiscent of the one that caused shortages of toilet paper, mustard or more recently heated pellets.
“They have gone mad. It makes no sense to stock up since this action lasts two months. These people are promoting the shortage,” responds BFM Business Francis Pousse, chairman of the gas station and new energy branch at Mobilians. “Around my house, in Le Mans, not a single Total station is open anymore due to lack of fuel”.
The situation can be seen almost everywhere in France. On social networks there are many testimonials from those who, after refueling, filled several 20-liter cans. Some stations have decided to ration at 50 euros per person. But according to witnesses, heavy consumers did not hesitate to switch from one pump to another to use again.
If individuals are affected by this shortage, professionals, including those who provide emergency and health services and who use a Total card, are in a dire situation.
An unfair discount
The gift given to consumers also has the effect of penalizing Total’s competitors, who are being hit hard by the oil discount across France. In the stations of other oil companies or in those of large retailers, the customer base rarely benefits from Total’s discount in addition to that of the State, which amounts to 50 centimes per month per liter of fuel.
In Corsica, several Esso stations have decided to stop their fuel distribution due to lack of customers. Their managers denounce the unfair competition from the Total group, which has applied a 20 cent discount on the fuel price since last Thursday. The Esso station in Calvi closed its pumps after Esso France refused to match Total’s prices with an identical discount.
“There will be damage. In these stations, the volume loss is estimated to be between 30 and 40%. The most disadvantaged are in rural and suburban areas, ie the most vulnerable,” explains to BFM Business Francis Pousse .
Avoid a tax on super profits
For Mobilians, Total’s discount is described as “unfair” to competitors.
“This gift to consumers is actually a negotiation with the government to avoid taxes on super profits. The others, like Esso or BP, can’t join because these stations are supplied by wholesalers. They are no longer operated by these big oil companies, which should make advantage in all of Europe a gift that they would make in France,” explains Francis Pousse.
For Total, on the other hand, this discount is a response “to the expectations of the French who have been affected by the increase in energy prices and the impact on their purchasing power”, as the company explains in a press release. The tanker is trying to limit the stock shortages that were even foreseen.
“We have scheduled additional deliveries on Saturday and today (depots are closed on Sundays),” TotalEnergie explained to us, specifying that “deliveries are currently going on all day.”