Fuels: the government’s ways to soften the end of rebates

Posted Nov 15, 2022, 5:55 PMUpdated on Nov. 15, 2022, 6:18 p.m.

When he was at Bercy and had to defend his record in terms of purchasing power, Gérald Darmanin used to quote his grandmother to explain the dissatisfaction of the French despite costly measures: “bite swallowed no longer disgust “. The current government team will quickly see if the adage is still valid.

The State is embarking on a politically perilous path this Wednesday with the gradual end of its rebate on prices at the pump, which could quickly cross the bar of 2 euros per liter on average. Enough to warm up the spirits, while the more targeted device for large riders who must take over remains unclear and looks a little less generous than that sketched out last summer.

Economy for the motorist

This day of Wednesday marks the end of the rebate of 30 cents per liter of fuel started on September 1st. It will only be 10 cents now, before its total abolition on December 31. The schedule is the same for the rebate financed by TotalEnergies in its stations, which goes from 20 to 10 cents before its disappearance at the end of 2022. A first rebate of 18 cents financed by the State had been applied from April to August .

“This device will have allowed over the whole year 2022 an average saving for the French motorist of 120 euros, to which is added a saving of 40 euros with the rebate from Total”, assured this Tuesday at the National Assembly Gabriel Attal. The Minister Delegate for Public Accounts, however, recalled that this measure “has always been intended to be limited in time”, because “behind the motorist who fills up, there is a taxpayer”.

In fact, the measure turned out to be extremely costly. For the whole of 2022, the amount advanced is 7.6 billion euros. That is almost the amount spent to finance the tariff shield on the price of gas. In total, the State has put on the table 110 billion euros between 2021 and 2023 to cushion the effects of the energy crisis.

Targeted device

If the rebate gradually disappears, Bercy has been promising for several weeks a more targeted device, supposed to take over in early 2023. Either more or less a new check, even if the majority turns away from a term that smells of political sulfur. “The French are more and more irritated by this idea of ​​checks, there are many who have the impression of never being entitled to them. We want a targeted device that helps those who work, “said a ministerial adviser.

For a few days, Gabriel Attal has been hammering as well as the “big rollers” device in preparation will in reality be a “big workers” device to “accompany the French who need their car to have income from activity”. It is actually a remake of the measure already announced this summer, and which had finally been abandoned in favor of the famous rebate of 30 cents demanded and obtained by the right.

Less generous envelope

But this first missed meeting had at least made it possible to put in place a technical structure which will be used for the future “big workers” system: a website of the General Directorate of Public Finances (DGFiP) is already planned, which will make it possible to receive help within a few days after having entered their level of income and registration number.

“We have the philosophy, the piping and the budget envelope, it now remains to be said for whom and how much”, deciphers a ministerial adviser. In fact, arbitrations are still awaited to know which will be the population concerned, while Gabriel Attal mentioned 11 million households belonging to the “popular categories and middle classes”. According to sources in Bercy, this could concern the 50% of the least wealthy French people (the first 5 deciles of income), i.e. those with a reference tax income of 14,100 euros per share at most. It will also be necessary to determine if a bonus will be awarded to those rolling the most.

This summer, the first version of the “big wheels” device provided for bonuses of between 100 and 300 euros for these beneficiaries. But are such amounts still possible for the future mechanism? The executive has this time provided for a budget of 1.6 billion, or 20% less than that of 2 billion provisioned last summer for the first version of the device. “With the rebate of 30 cents, we showed that we were not in a logic of the lowest bidder to protect the French”, we defend ourselves at Bercy.

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