Initiated in 2016 by the Haut de France region, the aid reserved for motorists most affected by record fuel prices has so far not inspired other communities.
Five years ago, the Hauts-de-France region decided to financially help its inhabitants who were forced to take their car to go to work. A sort of “fuel check” for a lump sum of 20 euros per month.
To be entitled to this financial support, motorists must meet the following conditions: be an employee, not earn more than twice the minimum wage (2516 euros net), be domiciled far from their place of work (20 km minimum and no longer 30 km as was the case when it was created) and not have direct access to any urban transport line that can provide this trip.
Taxable until 2018, this aid was tax-exempt from 2019, Emmanuel Macron having – in the midst of the yellow vests crisis – qualified as “good philosophy” this boost imagined by Xavier Bertrand.
Estrosi takes up Bertrand’s idea
In 2019, the Nice Côte d’Azur metropolis seized the ball and in turn introduced a “fuel check” of 60 euros per quarter. The conditions are a little different. A distance of 10 kilometers between home and place of work is sufficient to be one of the beneficiaries.
Public transport service is also less restrictive. To be entitled to this boost, all you need to do is live more than 500 meters from a tram stop. 23,000 motorists (or 10% of households in the Metropolis chaired by Christian Estrosi) will benefit from it in the two years following its establishment.
A ratio higher than that of Hauts-de-France, where the number of beneficiaries exceeded 48,000 in 2020 depending on the region, or nearly 2% of households in Hauts-de-France. For an invoice which this year has already reached 10.5 million euros.
Short-term experience for the Azureans
Without mentioning the questions of cost, Christian Estrosi has decided, for his part, to stop the costs after two years.
“The metropolis has chosen to support new green mobility aids (premium for the purchase of an electric vehicle, an electric bicycle or not)” explains a spokesperson for the mayor of Nice, who also presides over the metropolis.
However, the fuel check may appear to be a good response to the current situation. Indeed, a reduction in taxes – costly for the State – would have only a slight impact on prices and would benefit all motorists, including those who have the means to cope.
Compared to February 2020, a big wheeler spends a dozen euros more
The generalization of the fuel check would make it possible, on the contrary, to target the motorists most affected by the current surge. Aid of 20 euros per month would in fact more than offset the rise in prices. In February 2020, before the pandemic hit France and the prices at the pump fell, due to a collapse in oil prices, a liter of diesel cost on average 1.42 euros against 1.54 euros today .
For a motorist running on diesel and making 60 kilometers per day to go to work and as much on weekends, this increase therefore represents between 10 and 13 euros per month more to pay, depending on his consumption. It remains to be seen who could finance such a generalization. If 5% of employees were to be eligible, its cost would reach just over 300 million euros per year. And obviously double that to reach 10% of employees, or 2.5 million households.
Another pitfall highlighted in the entourage of Barbara Pompili: the time necessary for its implementation. But the Minister for the Ecological Transition ensures that no leads are excluded to respond to the emergency.