After soaring last summer, oil prices have started falling again. Something to give hope to motorists, who hoped to see the bill decrease with each fill-up. In vain. Worse, on Sunday, OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia decided to cut production in an attempt to boost prices. However, in France, prices at the pump did not wait for this decision to go up. For fifteen days the trend is even slightly bullish. Between mid-May and the end of the month, diesel gained 2 cents on average at the pump and unleaded 95 and 3 cents, to stand at 1.67 euros and 1.88 euros per liter respectively. , according to the professional union of energy suppliers, Ufip Energies and Mobilities. In other words, they are much higher at the beginning of June than in September, in full tension on raw materials. Ufip then recorded an average price of 1.65 euros per liter for diesel and 1.88 euros for SP 95.
What happened? In April, the consumer association CLCV estimated that the prices of gasoline and diesel were on average 10 cents too high per liter, due to too high margins charged by distributors. The Minister of Energy Transition Agnès Pannier-Runacher was in turn stepped up to the plate. The blow was, since prices had fallen in stride, to go from 1.961 euro per liter for the SP on April 14 to 1.87 euro on average, in three weeks. But the decline stopped there.
Why don't the French benefit from a greater reduction? To understand, you have to go back a year. While fuel prices were soaring, the government came to the aid of motorists, with the establishment of a rebate at the pump of 30 centimes per liter, on September 1, 2022. TotalEnergies also had a hand in the near, adding an additional discount of 20 cents. What considerably dampen the soaring prices. On November 1, these two discounts had been reduced to 10 cents each, before disappearing on January 1.
In other words, in September diesel was displayed at 1.65 euros, when it should have cost 2.15 euros, without discount. The damper on the rise therefore worked perfectly, with one consequence today: motorists do not benefit from the drop. From a price kept artificially low, we have returned to a price reflecting the reality of the market. This is the double effect of the shock absorber. Prices rise less. But they drop less when the time comes. It remains to be seen whether Saudi Arabia's announcement will actually push prices up, and by how much.