In France this weekend, 283,000 people at 2,000 sites protested already high and rising taxes on fuel and yet another attempt by French President Macron to increase the carbon tax to 55 Euro per ton ($63) in January 2019. One liter diesel already reached the price of 1.90 Euro and regular gas over 2.0 Euro per liter. That’s $8.20 per gallon of diesel or almost $9 per gallon of regular gasoline.
With another tax hike, it will be almost impossible for middle-class French to afford using their cars. Many of the protestors are wearing yellow vests – gilets jaunes – a symbol of identification amongst the protesters. They block streets and slow down traffic to generate attention and call their protest “Opération escargot” – Operation Snail.
The main complaint is that diesel was traditionally taxed at the same rate as gasoline which is no longer the case: Taxes on diesel have risen 6.2 percent per liter in 2018 as part of the French government’s “green” preening.
Diesel is by far the most common fuel in France, leading many to view recent policies as an attack on working people. For many years the French government offered major tax incentives for people to buy and drive a diesel car – millions of diesel owners feel betrayed by their own government.
The loudest and most famous voice from the weekend protest is that of Jacline Mouraud, a diesel owner from Brittany who has become the star of the yellow vest movement due to her YouTube videos and appearance on all major French news outlets.
“You have persecuted drivers since the day you took office. This will continue for how long?” she said in a YouTube video that has millions of views. “You only need those taxes for new china in the Élysée palace or another expensive swimming pool for your private residence!”
Read here what devastating effects carbon taxes have on the economy.