Once again under pressure from the government to help reduce motorists’ bills, TotalEnergies has announced that it will raise its discount on a liter of fuel from 10 to 12 euro cents for motorists refueling at its service stations on the motorway this summer, confirming information from the daily The Parisian. About 120 service stations should be affected. In addition to the government discount, this rebate will, according to TotalEnergies, save 30 cents per liter for those who fill up at its motorway network stations – a saving of 15 euros for a full 50 liters. The energy giant points out that its new proposal represents an increase of 20% compared to the initial discount. An extension beyond the summer is in consultation with the government. 17 million motorists traveling during the summer holidays should therefore be able to benefit from it, specifies TotalEnergies. But this rebate will not apply to stations in rural areas.
A purchasing power law amounting to approximately $25 billion
For Bruno Le Maire, Minister of Finance, the announcement of TotalEnergies corresponds to the government’s desire to share the burden of the fight against inflation. As the executive finalizes its bill on purchasing power worth around 25 billion euros, “all the effort cannot rest solely on the state”, he said. he said earlier this week on BFM,
One thing is certain, between the extension of the discount of 18 cents, the reduction of VAT or other taxes, the battle of proposals is raging between the government and the opposition to curb the rise in fuel prices. The debate in Parliament on the purchasing power package promises to be heated. The executive, which is currently considering extending until the end of August the discount of 18 cents per liter applied since April, is considering extending the measure until the end of the year and then a targeted mechanism. for big riders.
Not sure, however, that this is enough to calm the opposition and the discontent of motorists. With the approach of departures on vacation, the prices at the pump of gasoline and diesel remain very high, despite the discount financed by the State. Last week, even if they had fallen slightly, they still exceeded two euros per litre.
Result: already at the heart of the candidates’ programs for the legislative elections, the subject is coming back in force in the debate.
PCF boss Fabien Roussel, member of the Nupes alliance in the National Assembly, announced on Wednesday that he was going to table a bill to “immediately lower gasoline taxes by 35 centimes” and to “tax oil company profits. For its part, rebellious France has promised a bill “to respond to the social emergency” which provides for a blocking of fuel prices.
The National Rally advocates, for its part, a reduction in VAT to 5.5% on fuel, while the LR, whose deputies held a group meeting on Tuesday on the theme of purchasing power, proposed up to present a reduction in taxes in order to bring prices below 1.50 euros per litre.
Proposals deemed far too expensive for Bercy. The LR proposal “would cost around 50 billion euros. It is one and a half times the budget of the entire Ministry of the Environment (…), so it is not responsible”, tackled Bruno Le Maire.
Taxation of profits
The rebate from TotalEnergies comes as the taxation of companies that take advantage of inflation is back on the table. Claimed in particular by the PCF and insubordinate France, the measure seems to have been rejected by the government, which is calling on these companies to take direct action in favor of household purchasing power. TotalEnergies in particular is in the sights of the left, after the 48% jump in its profits in the first quarter of 2022, to 5 billion euros. And the results for the second quarter, which will be published at the end of July, also promise to be excellent.
The oil giant is not alone. Engie also recorded spectacular results in the first quarter, as did the shipowner CMA CGM, at a time when shipping costs are soaring with the recovery of world trade after the pandemic.
Some states have already taken the plunge. The very liberal United Kingdom has introduced a temporary tax of 25% on the profits of the oil giants to finance aid for the most disadvantaged households in the face of inflation. And Italy has decided to levy an additional 25% on the profits of large companies in the energy sector.
Even the OECD had estimated as early as March that spending to support purchasing power could be partly financed by “the taxation of exceptional gains in certain countries”.
In France, the government does not seem ready, repeating Emmanuel Macron’s commitment not to increase taxes. Government spokeswoman Olivia Grégoire said on BFMTV that “no arbitration is taken”, adding however that “we are watching, it is typically part of the things we discuss with the oppositions at this very moment”.
The strategy of the executive seems rather to convince these large companies to make voluntary gestures.
For Medef boss Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, “tax increases are not the solution”. “I understand, however, that these companies are being asked to make an effort, especially on their prices,” he said in an interview with Les Echos on Monday.
Strike on July 28 at TotalEnergies
The CGT of TotalEnergies has called on the entire group and its subsidiaries in France for a new day of strike, next July 28, in order to demand wage increases taking into account inflation, we learned on Wednesday with the union.
In addition to the inflationary context, the social context is all the more tense at TotalEnergies as the group benefits, like the other giants in the sector, from the surge in oil prices/ Negotiations are also scheduled for July 7 and 8, for wages employees of Hutchinson (joints for the automobile and aeronautics), another subsidiary of the group, according to the CGT.