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How to find the cheapest petrol in France (and beat the rising costs)

In France, petrol prices keep rising. Only last week, drivers were shocked to find out that diesel prices had overtaken petrol prices in one fifth of the country's petrol stations.

A petition on change.org asking the government to halt these price hikes has already gathered 190,000 signatures.

So whether you're planning a long drive across France or are trying to save on daily car trips, here's our advice on where to find the cheapest places to fill up your tank.

To start off with, here's some general advice.

Head for supermarkets

The large French 'hypermarchés' such as Intermarché, Leclerc or Casino are where you'll find the cheapest pump prices, as they try to be as competitive as possible in order to draw customers into their shops.

If you can, plan to fill up your tank in middle-sized towns and on the outskirts of France's larger cities as you'll find pump prices are generally cheaper in line with the general cost of living in these places.

Choose automated petrol stations

Whenever possible, select petrol stations which are automated and where you can pay directly with your card at the pump. Since these stations don't have to pay someone to manage the pump or man the till, they can afford to shave a little more off their pump prices.

Now for some forward planning.

Find the best route

If you know where you're going and can plan your route in advance, there are a number of websites which will help you find out where to find the cheapest places to fill up your tank along the way.

The government has a very detailed website which lists all the petrol pumps in France and the current fuel prices at each one.

Photo: Screengrab/Government website

The site allows you to select your place of departure and of arrival and the type of fuel you use, and it will produce a list of all the petrol stations you'll encounter on your drive. You can then select the cheapest, and you'll get an interactive map of all the pumps you've chosen on your itinerary.

The website is updated twice a month or so, so it does not have the exact prices to the day, but it will help give you an idea of the kind of prices you can expect.

Other websites such as Carbu.com and Zagaz.com are updated by users, and so prices might be slightly more up to date that the government website. Again, they are easy to use. You just need to type in where you're going, and you'll get a list of the petrol stations nearby and their prices.

Use an app

A number of useful apps will also come in handy if you have a smartphone and haven't been able to plan ahead. The apps Gasoil Now and Essence & Co for example will tell you where to find the most competitive prices within a 50km distance.

If you want to get a rough idea of how much your drive in France will cost you, here is how much on average you'll currently pay for the different types of fuel, according to Franceinfo.

And finally, here's what you can expect to pay at the moment…

For Unleaded 98 petrol the average price is 1,59 euros per litre. The cheapest pump is found in Parempuyre, in the Gironde (where you'll pay 1,49 euros) and the most expensive is in Paris's 16th arrondissement, where it reaches 1,98 euros.

Unleaded 95 will cost you on average 1,54 euros per litre. The cheapest pump is in Saint-Denis-en-Val in the Loiret where it costs 1,42 euros and the most expensive is in the Ile-d'Yeu on the West coast, East coast where it soars to 2,02 euros per litre.

Diesel reaches an average price of 1,45 euros per litre, with the cheapest pump found in Voglans in the Savoie region (1,36 euros) and most expensive is in Ile-d'Yeu where prices per litre reach 1,90 euros.

Lastly, Unleaded 95-E10 costs on average 1,50 euros per litre. The cheapest pump is in Royan in the Charente-Maritime (1,4 euros) and most expensive is found in Paris in the 16th arrondissement, where prices reach 1,78 euros.

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