Driven by a rising oil price, fuels have been flying from record to record since the beginning of the year, with diesel which exceeded 1.60 euros per liter for the first time. Ten weeks before the presidential election, the government was under pressure to find a solution to this equation which amputates the purchasing power of the French.
The candidates themselves have taken up this subject, which is highly concerning for many French people. The cost of fuel presents a significant budget for those who are forced to use the car to go to work. We take stock of the measures proposed by the candidates to limit the rise in prices.
Increase in the mileage allowance scale
For several days the government had been considering a measure to deal with the rise in fuel prices. It was announced this Tuesday by Prime Minister Jean Castex: the scale for calculating the mileage allowance for taxable households declaring their professional expenses will be “raised by 10%”.
For the approximately 2.5 million households concerned, “the effect will be quick and direct as soon as they file their 2021 income tax declaration or last year’s profits”, assured Jean Castex.
A solution also advocated by Valérie Pécresse (LR) and Eric Zemmour (Reconquest). “I propose that the cost of gasoline for the eight million employees who go to work by car be borne 50% by the employer,” said the far-right candidate on BFMTV / RMC on January 18. .
Jean-Luc Mélenchon (LFI) reiterates each time its proposal: block fuel prices and return to “prices before” the surge. This measure is part of a “social emergency law”, in which the rebellious leader plans to block the prices of certain basic necessities, including gasoline.
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (Stand up for France) proposed to reduce taxation on fuels and to compensate for the shortfall with a “temporary” tax on “very large fortunes”. On his side, Fabien Roussel (PCF) undertakes to “lower fuel prices by 30 cents” immediately, then to introduce a floating tax.
Marine Le Pen (RN) and Anne Hidalgo (PS) agree on a reduction in VAT to 5.5% on fuel. A tax now set at 20% and which, with the Domestic Consumption Tax on Energy Products (TICPE), brings the share of taxes on the price of a liter of fuel to 60%. According to Olivier Gantois, president of the UFIP (French Union of Petroleum Industries), there are “few levers apart from taxes” to deal with soaring prices.
The reduction in taxation does not appear in the candidate’s proposals ecologist Yannick Jadot : “When we lower the tax for everyone, it’s not called a social measure”, he had tackled in October on Franceinfo. The MEP is in favor of the “energy check” benefiting the most vulnerable, just like Brussels, which recommends directly helping “those who need it most”, by paying out “specific checks”, rather than uniformly lowering the VAT on fuels.
Asked about the advisability of lowering the VAT rate on petrol to 5.5%, against 20% currently, Bruno Le Maire, the Minister of the Economy, was then cautious last week: “Ten euro cents less per liter, on a full 50 liters, it is five euros less “for the consumer but” 5 billion “loss of tax revenue for the State, he had assured.
At the Assembly on Tuesday, Jean Castex ruled out any lowering of VAT on fuels. This “is not the solution” because this measure “is not targeted at those who need it most”, and it “costs billions with the risk that it will be immediately erased if the price of the barrel rises again “, pleaded Jean Castex.
Since last fall, the government has already taken out the checkbook abundantly in the face of inflation, by deciding to pay compensation of 100 euros to 38 million people (16.6 million have so far actually touched it). A solution that had been strongly criticized by many candidates.
In addition to the inflation compensation, there was an exceptional payment of 100 euros in December for the six million households benefiting from the energy check and the blocking of gas prices and the limitation to 4% of the increase in electricity prices.