Fuels: “The Explosive Gross Margins” of Distributors Denounced by a Consumer Association

“The explosive gross margins” of distributors denounced by a consumer association

INFLATION: Prices at the fuel pump “must decrease by 10 cents” per litre, estimates the CLCV

The consumer association CLCV accuses, on Wednesday, fuel distributors of having garnered “explosive gross margins” on gasoline and oil over the past four months, judging that prices at the pump “must decrease by 10 cents » per litre.

“Mass distribution and oil groups keep saying that they are committed to purchasing power, it is time for this to be translated into action. The CLCV will not hesitate to seize the competent authorities if the gross margins do not return to normal by the start of the summer”, warns Consumption Housing Living Environment (CLCV) in a press release.

Based on the “annual averages” for 2018-2021 from the Federation of petroleum industries, CLCV indicates that “the gross margin transport distribution” – i.e. the difference between the price excluding fuel taxes and the price at the exit of the refinery – is “generally around 15 cents per litre”.

A margin that reaches “a historic record”

In 2022, this gross margin “has fallen to very low levels because distributors have chosen not to pass on all of the very sharp rise in crude prices following the Ukrainian crisis , recalls the CLCV, stressing that this margin gross “has even been negative in some months”. But “since the start of 2023, this margin has been at an all-time high of over 25 cents per litre,” she adds.

“It is clear that distributors have been taking very high margins for four months to make up for their losses in the second half of 2022. This catch-up could be agreed on the condition of being assumed in a transparent manner. At the European level, fuel prices excluding tax are down except in France! “, deplores the CLCV.

The State demands a gesture from distributors, Leclerc fumes

The Minister of Energy Transition Agnès Pannier-Runacher reiterated on Tuesday her calls to distributors for fuel prices to “fall faster” and reflect “as closely as possible” the decline in international oil prices. Crude oil prices have been hovering around $70-75 a barrel since early May, returning to levels not seen since the start of the war in Ukraine in February 2022.

Faced with these calls, Michel Edouard-Leclerc considered it “inflated” to point to the responsibility of distributors rather than TotalEnergies, which reaps “billions of profits”. “If there must be economic players to lower the price of fuel, it is first of all the one who makes the fuel market”, asserted the president of the strategic committee of the E.Leclerc centers on BFM TV .

“The margins secreted by Total last year are at least as high as the year before, the public authorities (it) had asked last year to make rebates and no one was offended that Total did not restore than half a billion to French consumers through its own network alone,” argued the manager.

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