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Record French diesel prices may spur return of Yellow Vests

Ramin Mazaheri 
Press TV, Paris

Some may forget that the issue which initially compelled France’s Yellow Vests to hit the streets was record-high gasoline prices. The price of diesel gas just hit a new record in France amid across-the-board inflation, so will popular discontent return less than six months ahead of their presidential election?

In October 2018 a liter of fuel in diesel-dominated France hit €1.53, and for the next seven months every Saturday in Paris was a war zone of state repression. The price of diesel gas has just surpassed that all-time record and many wonder if a return of the Yellow Vests is around the corner.

After the unprecedented corona lockdowns diesel, petrol, natural gas, electricity and prices in general continue to soar worldwide - inflation in France has just accelerated to the highest rate in 10 years. Western leaders continue to insist the inflation is temporary, but many in France say the economic tension is undeniable.

Gasoline taxes are regressive taxes because they place the same costs on rich and poor alike. Sixty percent of France’s gasoline costs are due to taxation. Many drivers wonder if the right-wing government of Emmanuel Macron is prepared to ease this winter’s burden on the average household by making the wealthy and big business pay a fair share.

As cold weather nears a 250% increase in natural gas in Europe is forcing governments to take last-minute action, including caps to corporate profits in left-leaning Spain. France’s government is set to announce a small one-time payment for only the poorest households to defray energy costs which show no sign of easing. France uses the
third-most natural gas in Europe.

The persistent price rises and entrenched unemployment may upend Western plans to finally end Quantitative Easing and Zero Interest Rate Polices, which have produced record economic inequality. Those policies and the disastrous corona recession may have set the stage for West’s next economic era - dreaded stagflation.

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