Even in 2018, at the start of the “yellow vests” crisis, a liter of diesel was not as expensive. The average price at the pump reached 1.5354 euro last week, according to figures from the Ministry of Ecological Transition. The price of a liter of unleaded 95 amounted to 1.60 euros, still below the 2012 record of 1.66 euros.
Over one year, while the crisis due to the coronavirus had plunged oil prices and therefore fuel prices last year, the increase is 28% for diesel. By way of comparison, in 2018, at the time of the “yellow vests” crisis, prices had increased by 22.6% over one year for diesel. But if, at the time, part of these increases was explained by an increase in taxation, this is not the case in 2021, the government having frozen fuel taxes in 2018.
The explanation is to be found on the side of oil prices, which have been soaring for several months. The price of a barrel of Brent hit $ 82 last week, an increase of more than 10% since September. It was trading around $ 35 (around 30 euros), after falling below $ 20 during the first wave of Covid-19 and the spring lockdowns.
The government says it is ready to “react”
Gold, explain The echoes Based on a note from the Banque de France on the issue, the wholesale price of refined diesel takes a week to be reflected in half in the retail prices charged to motorists at the pump. “It takes an average of eleven working days to observe 90% of the transmission of change in cost to prices, and the full pass-through to fuel prices takes about twenty working days”, according to this study by the Banque de France.
The variation in fuel prices has little impact on the quantity consumed, as households often have no choice but to use their vehicle in their daily life. This increase in prices at the pump therefore weighs directly on their budget, in which fuels represent 10% of income for the poorest, 3% for the better-off.
Thursday, the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, had assured on RTL that the government could decide to take measures to compensate for the rise in prices. “On diesel and gasoline, if the surge continues, we will have to react, did he declare. We did it on gas and electricity, so if it is necessary to do it on fuel, we are ready to do it. ” Beyond targeted aid, taxation could be a tool to alleviate the rise in oil prices: despite the tax freeze, it represents about 60% of the price paid by motorists.