25 October 2010

The fuel situation, Monday

I'm continuing to blog about the fuel situation in France because according to TF1 news, quoting a government minister last night, the situation could get slightly worse today. The twelve oil refineries in France are still being blockaded by strikers.

This map shows the fuel situation in different parts of the
country— very difficult, difficult, and slightly difficult.

I think most of the fuel storage depots have been opened up again by police, and tanker trucks are getting in and out. But France is running on reserves, and on refined oil products (gasoline and diesel fuel) being imported from the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and Spain.

And these departments are the hardest-hit.
Indre-et-Loire is the Tours area, near us.

The government is giving priority to filling stations on the autoroutes — the expressways, which are toll roads. One driver over near Tours, interviewed for last night's news report, pointed out that he not only has to pay high prices for fuel now, but he also has to pay an autoroute toll in order to go fuel up!

An Intermarché station that's closed and empty.

Seven départements in France are facing a critical shortage of what is called le carburant — fuel. Some filling stations might have Sans Plomb 95 (which used to be called essence) or unleaded regular gas to sell. Others might have Sans Plomb 98 (which used to be called super) or unleaded premium gas. Still others might have gazole [gah-ZULL] or gasoil [gah-ZWAHL], or diesel fuel, to sell. But it seems like few station have all three.

No price posted means there's nothing to sell.

In fact, the government says that 25% of the filling stations in the country are completely à sec — "dry," out of fuel. En rupture. Don't even think of asking for un plein — a fill-up — in most places, unless your tank isn't very empty. Many stations have put limits on how much you can buy at one time in order to spread the available fuel around to as many customers as possible.

"Station closed. No more fuel."
"Roulez au pas" means "go slow."

Normally, if you have a French credit card with a chip on it and a PIN, you can fill up any time of the day or night, even when the station is unstaffed. Not now, though, because they don't want people filling up jerrycans and depleting supplies.

I'm posting some pictures that I captured off the TF1 (a privately owned channel) news, via the web site, this morning.


  1. I've been seeing these reports also, but when we walk around the city, there's no hint that gas is difficult to get. There are just as many cars and trucks clogging the streets as ever. And you'd never know by the way they drive.

  2. Ahaa, that is where all our fuel is going! :) It was on the news yesterday that Belgian gas stations near the border with France have doubled their turnover these last few days. Or as they say: "One man's death, is another man's bread."
    I really hope life in France will return to normal soon. This can't go on for much longer ... or do they want to turn this conflict into another 'Mai 68'?! Martine

  3. This morning the police opened up the fuel storage depot at St-Pierre-des-Corps (the Tours suburb where the TGV station is located). The fuel supply around there and over here should improve now -- temporarily. But then none of the refineries in France are producing anything, so I'm waiting to see what is going to happen next.

  4. We went to Chateauroux this morning. As we went by our local service station he was getting a fuel delivery. In Chateauroux the supermarket had fuel when we arrived but a very long queue (causing a traffic jam). A couple of hours later when we came back past, en rupture. We bought fuel at Preuilly just before arriving home.


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