End of Belgian 'tank tourism': France implements new system for cheaper fuel at the pump

End of Belgian 'tank tourism': France implements new system for cheaper fuel at the pump
Credit: Belga/Nicolas Maeterlinck

The French Government will replace its direct discounts for diesel and petrol at the pump (that Belgians crossing the border could also benefit from) with a bonus system, whereby only French people with a modest wage will receive a bonus of €100 if they need the car to go to work.

An estimated ten million French people – those earning less than the median – will benefit from the premium, which will cost the Government €1 billion. Converted, this comes down to a discount of €0.10/litre at the pump, said French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne.

This way, France wants to pay out government support in a more targeted way to temper the high energy costs. Today, there is still a €0.50/litre discount at the pump, as the country's authorities temporarily increased the discount on excise duties to €0.30/litre and supplier TotalEnergies added a €0.20/litre discount on top.

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That discount applies to anyone who fills up their tank in France, including the many Belgians who cross the border to do just that, which can save them roughly €0.40/litre, or about €20 on a 50-litre tank. In practice, however, this so-called "tank tourism" means that the French authorities are also paying for a large number of non-French residents who are all too happy to enjoy the discount.

France's new system will apply from January. Those who are entitled to the €100 bonus must register on the website of the tax authorities, give their licence plate and sign a declaration of honour that they need the car to go to work.

The premium will then be deposited into their bank account. Unemployed people who use the car to drive to job applications can also receive the premium.


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