French massively opposed to higher fuel taxes
The French are ‘massively opposed’ to higher taxes on fuels as measures to reach climate goals and want in the first place to keep the people’s ‘purchasing power’, as prices of fuels – and diesel in particular (+23%) – have soared the last months. 78% of them consider the call to block roads on November 17th as “justified”. The elected government stands its ground, though.
With the current war on diesel launched after the dieselgate scandal, European cities and countries have seen new laws and restrictions aiming at reducing the number of ‘dirty diesel’ cars. Whether it is by introducing a low emission zone or by increasing the price by adding excises, everyone is affected.
However, the French won’t take it easily. Counting for more than two-thirds of the French car fleet, diesel is still the prominent fuel. With more bans, more taxes and an increasing fuel price, the pill is hard to swallow.
Block all French roads
To combat the government’s tax increase, citizen groups have called upon the French people to manifest by blocking the country’s roads on November 17th. According to an Odoxa-Dentsu Consulting survey done for France Info and Le Figaro, 78% of them consider that call “justified”.
Realized through the quota method, the survey interrogated 988 French people aged over 18 online on October 30 and 31. It shows that 76% of them judge the fuel price increase as a bad move and that spending power should be put first even if it means continuing to use petrol products.
Prices increased 15 to 23%
In one year, the average price of diesel in France has increased by 23%, compared to an increase of 15% for petrol. At 1,51 euro per litre (last week’s average price), diesel hasn’t been that expensive since 2000. Although the French are cross with the government, that price increase is majorly due to raw material’s prices rising (+35% for diesel and +28% for petrol).
The TICPE (major tax on fuel) has increased by 7,6 cents for diesel on January 1st. In total, taxes have risen up by 14% on diesel and 7,5% on petrol in one year. According to the government’s plan, they should continue to increase until 2022 starting by the addition of 0,6 euro on diesel and 0,3 euro on petrol in 2019.
Global warming fight sacrificed
The French are divided on environment until it touches their wallet. The above-mentioned survey proves it: 53% of them see the new investment on nuclear power as a bad idea. For emissions, though, it seems that the French prefer cheap fuel to air quality.
92% of supporters of Jean-Luc Mélenchons’ La France Insoumise chose cheap fuel. Along with Rassemblement National supporters, they are respectively 88% and 91% to support the November 17 road blockage. Ex-Environment Minister, Ségonèle Royal, berated the government’s eco taxes, qualifying it as “punitive” and “fiscal beating”.
‘I’ve assumed difficult decisions’
At Tuesday’s Government’s assembly, elected deputies reported questions and worries from their constituencies. “We must have the political courage and assume our choices even if we are not greeted by kisses in our constituencies”, comments a Normandy majority member. “We’re here to hold our ground for a better future even if there’s blood and tears at first.”
Attacked by both the left and the right on that subject, Prime Minister, Édouard Philippe, pointed on the climate emergency. “One day, our children will come to us to ask what we’ve done against climate change”, said the Prime Minister, “I will tell them that I assumed difficult decisions.”