France: service stations running out of fuel

Due to strikes at France's refineries and fuel depots run by oil giants TotalEnergies and Esso-ExxonMobil, around 30 percent of the service stations in the country have either run out of fuel entirely or can only supply certain types. Employees are demanding higher pay in the face of inflation and energy companies' inflated profits. The national papers take different stances on the issue.

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La Croix (FR) /

Use energy more efficiently

Now is the time to think about saving resources and protecting the climate, La Croix counsels:

“What these endless queues tell us is how extremely dependent we have become on cars and oil. This is nothing new but it is particularly obvious these days. In France, three-quarters of employees drive their cars to work. A car weighs 1.5 tonnes and transports 1.6 persons on average. These figures and images should prompt us to rethink our lifestyles. Not to criticise drivers, but to encourage everyone to ask themselves what changes they can make in their daily life to protect resources and the climate.”

Le Figaro (FR) /

Strike could be socially explosive

The fuel shortages are hitting less well-off commuters particularly hard, economist Olivier Babeau of the think tank Institut Sapiens points out in Le Figaro:

“The better-off who can afford to live in the expensive city centres and take the bike or walk can wait calmly for the crisis to end. For the others it is a matter of economic survival at a time when inflation is already squeezing even the tightest of budgets. Blocking fuel supplies is socially explosive. The yellow vest movement was a result of adding a few cents to prices at the pump. One can imagine the chaos that a permanent increase in the price of energy could lead to, especially as a result of shortages.”