French finance minister concerned about gasoline prices

This fall, French finance minister Laurent Fabius plans to ask the nation�s competition commission to investigate oil companies' failure to reduce gasoline prices.


PARIS�This fall, French finance minister Laurent Fabius plans to ask the nation�s competition commission to investigate oil companies' failure to reduce gasoline prices.

Fabius twice has told oil companies and gasoline distributors that their gasoline prices for consumers should be lowered to reflect reduced crude oil prices.

The distributors have declined to comply, arguing that high taxes on refined products should be reduced to make gasoline cheaper.

There have been complaints that oil companies and distributors have been quick to integrate crude price increases into the price for gasoline and other products, but not crude price decreases.

Premium unleaded gasoline is selling at 8 francs/l., compared with 6.30 francs a year ago.

If major distributors have a tacit price-fixing agreement, as some suspect, it would violate French law, as well as European Union rules on free and fair competition in the energy sector.

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