News Digest: France’s Fuel Shortage & Where You Can Fill Up



News Digest: France’s Fuel Shortage & Where You Can Fill Up

Fuel shortages are affecting petrol stations across the country, the French government has released its energy-saving plan for winter, and don’t miss our latest free webinar. Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.

1. Fuel Shortages Sweep France

With the concerns of rising petrol prices ongoing, motorists have been dealt an additional blow this week, as petrol stations around the country face fuel shortages. As of yesterday, an estimated 30% of service stations were suffering from outages of at least one fuel type and, despite the government’s efforts to discourage panic buying, motorists faced long queues at petrol stations all over France.

The shortages are the results of a pay-related workers strike at TotalEnergies and Esso-ExxonMobil, which has been going on since Sept 27th. Both Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and President Emmanuel Macron have called for a swift end to the strikes, stating that government intervention is a possibility if the situation isn’t resolved quickly.

If you need to fill up in France, the best advice is to check petrol station supplies before heading out. The government website Prix-carburant allows you to filter for fuel types and will show only the stations in your department with that fuel available. TotalEnergies also has a similar search function, but it will, of course, only show TotalEnergies service stations.

2. France’s Winter Energy-Saving Plan

Last Thursday (Oct 6th), the French government announced its anticipated “sobriété enégetique” plan, detailing the energy-saving measures being put in place for public services, businesses, and households throughout winter.

For government offices and businesses, these measures include reducing energy usage in offices and eliminating unnecessary travel and transport, while public services will be reducing energy costs, turning off lighting at night, and adhering to heating restrictions at gyms, cinemas, swimming pools, and other leisure facilities.

Depending on where you live, you may notice streetlamps being turned on/off earlier/later, shop lights and advertising being turned off overnight, and limited opening hours of some shops and services.

A national “Chaque geste compte(each action counts) campaign is also being launched to encourage all French residents to follow suit. For individual households, it’s important to note that these measures are only recommendations – they will not be enforced by law and (at least for the time being) there won’t be any consequences for not following them. However, if you want to contribute to the energy-saving efforts and save on your own energy bills in the process, the suggestions include:

  • Heat your home to a maximum of 19°C or 17°C in the bedroom.
  • Refrain from using household appliances such as a dishwasher or washing machine at peak times (after work/evening).
  • Follow energy-saving practices by unplugging devices, turning off lights, and turning off the wifi if you are away from home.
  • Dress for the weather – wear layers and warmer clothing indoors, and take warm clothing with you when going to work, school, or any other indoor events/activities.
  • Keep an on the Ecowatt website to track the energy forecast around France and take extra care when it shows a yellow or red warning – this means that the energy grid is under additional strain and following the energy-saving guidelines is even more crucial.

For more tips, check out our article 8 Ways to Save on Living Costs in France This Winter.

3. Parliament Debates & Protests

The Assemblée Nationale began debating the 2023 budget (projet de loi de finances) yesterday (Oct 10th), with left-wing and far-right members of the opposition both expected to oppose the bill. Any amendments to the bill must be proposed within the next 40 days, after which the bill will pass on to the second stage of approval.

While this is going on, frustrations are rising among the French public, with a march planned in Paris this Sunday (Oct 16th) to protest “the rising cost of living and inaction on climate change”. The march will be led by Nobel Prize-winning French writer Annie Ernaux, who published an open letter in the Journal du Dimanche stating, among other things, that “Emmanuel Macron is using inflation to deepen the gap between rich and poor”.

Meanwhile, Macron will be making a TV appearance this Wednesday (Oct 12th) on the first episode of political TV programme L’Événement. The episode will be broadcast on France 2 at 8.30 pm, and is set to cover topics such as the energy crisis and Ukraine.

4. Final Call for Our Visas & Residency Webinar!

Our next FrenchEntrée webinar is taking place this Thursday, 13th October, at 4:00 pm UK Time (GMT+1). This special edition webinar focuses on Moving to France: Visas and Residency, and I’ll be joined by visas expert Diana Nyerges from French Connections HCB to tackle all your many questions concerning visas and residency in France.

Whether you’re a second-home owner, a Brit post-Brexit, or an American, Australian, Canadian, or other non-EU citizen – this webinar will give you all the information you need to start your expat journey.

Thank you to all of you who have already sent in your questions – we’re going to try and answer as many of them as possible, and there will also be the opportunity to put your questions to Diana live during the webinar. As always, don’t worry if you can’t make the live event – all of our webinars are available to stream for free over on our FrenchEntrée YouTube channel.

You can sign up for the free webinar here.

I look forward to seeing you all there!

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FrenchEntrée's Digital Editor, Zoë is also a freelance journalist who has written for the Telegraph, HuffPost, and CNN, and a guidebook updater for the Rough Guide to France and Rough Guide to Dordogne & Lot. She lives in the French countryside just outside of Nantes.

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