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Evolution of Gas Prices In France

The French Ministère de l’Economie provides extended data of retail gas prices in France from 2007 to nowadays. In this humongous dataset, prices updates for each gas type from all gas stations in France are available. A previous article on this website took the average prices of each gas stations over the French territory, it’s now time to aggregate all the data to show the evolutions of prices through time.

Retail gas prices over time since 2007

This graph shows the average price for each gas type, each month from 2007. Diesel and SP95 are the most complete series.

Figure 1: Evolution

  • Diesel: Or Gazole, the most consumed gas in France. 66,8% of the vehicles in France are Diesel ones, according the the CCFA, the French syndicate of automakers.
  • SP95: A common gas used by petrol vehicles. “SP” means Sans Plomb or Without lead.
  • SP98: This French specificity is an enhanced version of the SP95 and has a better octane index (98 vs 95). It is supposed to be better.
  • E10: or SP95-E10, a SP95 oil with 10% ethanol, launched April 1st, 2009 as part of the energy transition policy. As 90% of its composition is shared with SP95, these 2 gas have a similar evolution, thus the E10 may be a little cheaper.
  • GPLc: Extracted for natural gas, GPL is still underdeveloped in France. 260 000 vehicles were using GPL engines in 2013 according to the French committee of GPL industry. Several policies have been brought to extend the usage of this clean and cheap gas, like the refund of GPL vehicles registrations.

Diesel prices vs Brent price

Here is a comparison between the most used gas in France, the Diesel, and the Brent Spot Price per barrel. This chart is only displayed for informations purposes and does not reflect the complex relations between the indicators as explained further.

Figure 2: Gazole vs brent

The Brent is petrol from the North Sea and is used as a reference for European prices. It is the most relevant data we can get to compare to French prices, although a lot of the French petrol come from Africa, Middle-East and Ex-Soviet countries. Price displayed here is the spot price per barrel in Euros, as traded on the financial markets. Starting from the yet unsure assertion that refining and distribution prices are always the same, the relation between spot prices and retail prices are influenced by two others factors:

  • Forex variations: Brent is traded is US Dollars. The price of gas in France depends on the strength of the Euro versus the US Dollar, making a oil barrel cheaper when Euro is stronger. Prices on this graph are displayed in Euros, converted from the EURUSD average value of the same day, for convenience. Money supply is way more complicated than this little trick, as a lot of strategies can come into account, like hedging, to insure prices.
  • Production operations: Production operations influence prices, like time of orders or state of stocks for producers and distributors. As oil sector is a private industry, it is impossible to know the supplying strategies of the various actors, that can be as complex as money supply strategies.

These factors makes predicting the retail gas prices from raw oil prices harder, however the 2 lines follow a similar evolution.

Data show on these graphs is an aggregation of the dataset provided by the French Ministère de l’économie for the gas prices and US EIA for the Brent Prices.