• Rikki Lambert

French fires first shot in fuel relief debate


Motorists around the world have been hurting at the bowser and with an election looming for President Emmanuel Macron, France has blinked first in throwing aid to motorists.


French Prime Minister Jean Castex says the government will introduce a petrol rebate scheme for households, farmers and road freight.


France will introduce a rebate of 0.15 euros ($A0.22) per litre of transport fuel to help drivers cope with soaring pump prices, Prime Minister Jean Castex has said in an interview with daily newspaper Le Parisien.


Amid protests about high fuel prices, Albania introduced restrictions on fuel suppliers' profit margins, set limits on retail petrol prices and penalties for non-compliance.


The Australian government has sworn off, at this stage before its federal budget in a fortnight's time, slashing its 44 cents per litre fuel excise theoretically applied directly to improving Australia's cumulative 870,000 kilometres of roads. Independent South Australian senator Rex Patrick has for weeks called for the excise to be halved in a relief measure for motorists.


French Prime Minister Castex said the measure, to apply for four months from April 1, is expected to cost the government about two billion euros.


Retail petrol and diesel prices soared to record highs in many countries across the world this week as Russia's invasion of Ukraine added to market tensions, after economies had begun recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.


A gesture of support for French motorists had been flagged by President Emmanuel Macron, who is campaigning for a second term in elections next month.


In the interview published on Saturday, Castex said the rebate would cover households as well as lorry transport and farmers.


The measure, which he said fuel distributors should reinforce with their own effort to cut retail prices, would save a motorist 9 euros on a 60 litre tank, Castex added.


Macron has said his government has already spent 20 billion euros a year to moderate petrol and power costs.