By Tara Patel
Feb. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Francois Hollande
, the French
Socialist presidential candidate, pledged to freeze record fuel
prices for three months if elected to ease the burden of higher
energy costs on consumers.
“Our system brings more money to the state every time
prices rise,” Hollande said today in an interview on RTL radio.
“How can we accept this?”
A three-month freeze on fuel prices at the pump would give
the government time to introduce measures to cut taxes when
prices for refined fuel products rise, he said.
France scrapped a similar system known as “floating” fuel
taxes in 2002. It was designed to steady prices for consumers by
varying fuel tax rates. The price of gasoline at French pumps
reached a record last week, according to data published today on
the website of the refiners’ group.
Gasoline, which represents about 15 percent of the French
fuel market, reached 1.609 euros a liter on Feb. 24, according
to the Union Francaise des Industries Petrolieres. Diesel, which
has 80 percent of the market, cost 1.441 euros a liter, about
one centime below the record 1.454 euros a liter reached May 30,
2008, it said.
Hollande also promised to maintain a ban on shale
exploration until it can be proven this can be done “without
consequences for the environment.”
“We won’t go looking for resources that would alter the
state of the environment,” he said. “We can’t put in danger
the safety of our citizens and the quality of water they
France last year banned a process called hydraulic
fracturing, or fracking, needed to extract fuel from shale rock.
President Nicolas Sarkozy has narrowed the gap with
Hollande, according to an Ipsos SA poll for Le Monde and France
Televisions published Feb. 28. Sarkozy trails by 4.5 points in
voting intentions, down from a seven-point gap a week earlier,
the poll showed. The vote will be held in two rounds on April 22
and May 6.
For Related News and Information:
Top French news: TOPF
French polling: TNI POLLS FRA
--Editors: Stephen Cunningham
, Alex Devine
To contact the reporter on this story:
Tara Patel in Paris at +33-1-5365-5058 or
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Will Kennedy at +44-20-7073-3603 or