PARIS, Oct 18 (Reuters) - TotalEnergies will keep a 1.99 euro per litre cap on French fuel prices throughout 2024, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Wednesday, after the government's budget bill did not extend a windfall tax on energy firms.
"TotalEnergies took this commitment. I welcome this decision," Le Maire told RTL radio.
In September, TotalEnergies had said a 1.99 euro per litre cap on fuel prices, originally due to expire at the end of 2023, would be extended at all its petrol stations in France beyond Dec. 31 and remain in place "as long as prices remain high".
But on Oct. 6, TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne told French news website ActuLyon the French oil giant could end the price cap if the state hit the oil giant with new taxes.
"We think that the prospect of a tax was a means to put pressure on Total, which explains Total's announcement that it would keep the 1.99 euro per litre cap," lawmaker Veronique Louwagie with the conservative Republicains told Reuters.
In September, Le Maire had raised concern about "excessive profits" by refiners but later stopped short of rolling over a windfall tax in the 2024 budget bill, which is currently going through parliament.
Socialist lawmakers proposed an amendment to the budget bill that would have rolled the measure over, but it was rejected in the finance commission. (Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten Additional reporting by Elizabeth Pineau and Leigh Thomas Editing by Dominique Vidalon and Mark Potter)