On the ring road in Paris, you had to take your troubles patiently to refuel, between the deserted stations barred with tape and those beset by the Ile-de-France residents, who were advancing at snail’s speed until they reached the precious fuel.

“It’s fed up,” said Zahara Maaloul, frowning at the window of his car, stopped in front of one of the TotalEnergies service stations. But for this executive assistant, no choice: “We come a little earlier to avoid Wednesday’s price increase”.

In France, nearly 21% of service stations were out of at least one fuel on Monday, gasoline or diesel, among the 9,900 stations that served it on September 20 before a long strike in French refineries. On October 26, when this strike only affected two TotalEnergies sites, this figure was 14.5%.

“This runaway is only due to the end of the discounts, with motorists who rushed to the pump, but also to the three-day weekend, with one day less supply last week”, explains to the AFP Francis Pousse, president of service stations and new energies of Mobilians, a professional union which represents 5,800 traditional stations (excluding mass distribution).

On Wednesday, the discount of 30 euro cents per liter of fuel financed by the State since September 1 will drop to 10 cents, and that of TotalEnergies will drop from 20 to 10 cents. The two discounts of 10 cents will last until December 31.

“We would like it to be renewed, it is in everyone’s interest since if it continues like this, it will generate tension. I hope that the yellow vests will not come back”, worried Gaétan Young driving his taxi.

“I put for example 14 liters, times 30 cents, that’s immediately a few euros more, and it’s less purchasing power”, added Adrien François, employee in the restaurant, who waited on his motorcycle. in the hubbub of traffic.

In 2023, the government is instead planning targeted aid for motorists “who are struggling to make ends meet”, as Minister of Public Accounts Gabriel Attal said.

– No shortage –

In continuous decline since mid-October, diesel was displayed last week at the pump at an average national price of 1.8319 euros per liter, or 3.59 cents less than the previous one, according to figures from the Ministry of the Ecological Transition arrested on Friday and published on Monday. Unleaded 95, stable, cost an average of 1.6797 euros per litre, and unleaded 95-E10 at 1.6222 euros was up slightly to 1.74 cents.

On Monday, nearly 13% of French service stations were even completely dry, according to data transmitted by the stations on the prix-carburants.gouv.fr site.

In 17 departments, more than 40% of the stations lacked either gasoline or diesel, with strong regional disparities.

Most of the departments in the Paris region reported deficiencies: Seine-Saint-Denis (49.5% of stations affected), Val d’Oise (46%), Yvelines (45%) or even Paris (43, 6%).

And in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, 58% of Puy-de-Dôme stations lacked at least one type of fuel, and 46% in the Rhône where the Feyzin refinery (TotalEnergies), the last on strike, suspended the movement on November 8.

“You do not instantly restock a set of service stations,” said Francis Pousse, who refuses to talk about shortages in France.

“Trucks have started rolling again this morning to restock service stations,” he said, and “fuel consumption should slow down significantly from Wednesday” with lower discounts at the pump.

For its part, the government has not communicated figures on fuel shortages since October 21, after media analyzes showed an underestimation of the shortage.