By Inti Landauro
PARIS-- A gasoline price cut, brokered by the French government and aimed at shielding consumers from rising oil prices, is manageable for oil major Total SA (TOT) and is part of a long-term commercial plan, the company's Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie said Tuesday in an interview with BFM TV.
"It is a way to show our customers Total cares about their situation," de Margerie said.
Earlier Tuesday, French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici had said the government had agreed with oil companies to cut gasoline and diesel prices by up to six euro cents (7.5 dollar cents) a liter for three months. Half of the price cut will be funded by the government and the other half by distributors. The cut would cost the government about EUR300 million, Moscovici said.
The move answers French President Francois Hollande's election promise to freeze gasoline prices. After his election in May prices fell, making such a freeze unnecessary.
Amid growing tensions in the Middle East, prices for diesel--the most common fuel in France--reached 145.92 euro cents a liter last week, the highest weekly average this year, according to government data. Last week, standard gasoline prices reached 164.82 euro cents a liter, just below the 166.64 high recorded in March.
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