On Thursday, September 1, TotalEnergies gas stations near the French-Luxembourg border were stormed by crowds of customers. Come Friday evening, diesel fuel ran out at every station from Metz to Verdun. On Saturday 95 petrol ran out too. The Rhine became shallow during the summer, so new fuel supply was nowhere in sight. By the end of the weekend, gas stations only had bioethanol left. What happened?
In France, the state discount on gasoline continues to work. It’s even increased recently from 18 to 30 eurocents per litre. And TotalEnergies added its own discount on top of it. That’s another 20 eurocents. Success was almost instant — and impossible to cope with.
Luxembourg is partly responsible for the crisis at French gas stations. A significant portion of TotalEnergies’ new clients are cross-border workers. There are many French people working in the Grand Duchy. In the summer it was profitable for them to refuel in Luxembourg. Every gas station gas station in the country had a discount of 7.5 eurocents per liter.
But on September 1, the discount has ended. And a similar discount in France had a 66% increase. Every morning and every evening, the French cross-border workers began to refuel at home. Belgians, Germans and Luxembourgers, also interested in affordable fuel, became frequent guests at french gas pumps too.
Some Luxembourgers called gas stations directly, asking if there was even a canister of fuel left.
Whether this situation will repeat in the near future is unclear.
In the Grand Duchy itself, petrol prices have been falling since the weekend’s start. 95 mark petrol costs 1.608 euros per litre. Mark 98 — 1.841 euros per liter. Diesel fuel — 1.826 euros per liter. These prices are still much higher than in France. For example, in Metz, a liter of 95 petrol costs 1.4 euros. The region’s motorists may now have to make an unfortunate choice between fuel availability and low prices.