France has already experienced several episodes of fuel shortages, refineries being very often blocked during social movements. Retrospective.

The weapon has been brandished many times by the unions. The goal ? put pressure on the government in place .

Always causing concern among motorists, the successive blockages remained in the memories.

The response of the authorities varied according to the color and the line adopted by the government in place.


This is the only time the country has really experienced a fuel shortage. Indeed, on the occasion of the “events” of May, nearly 9 million people stop working, after a general call to strike. Consequence: on May 20, public transport is at a standstill, forcing the French to take their car. Refineries and depots are also blocked , like the majority of industrial sites.

Finally, the situation came to an end after the signing of the Grenelle agreements on May 31, giving new rights to workers. Service stations are then resupplied.


The crisis this time affects road hauliers. After several months of negotiations with representatives of employers, they went on strike to demand increases in their salaries. The movement started on November 18 and quickly led to difficulties in petrol pumps. Of the 18,000 service stations at the time, between 5,000 and 8,000 dried up, according to Europe 1 .

There again, it was the signing of an agreement, on November 29, between the employers and the unions, which finally put an end to the hostilities. 


But the lull is short-lived. Indeed, a year later, new movements of road hauliers are disrupting the supply of service stations . Opposed to the employers, the demonstrators ask to review the question of wages. 

This time, the forces of order are deployed in strategic places, in order to avoid too great a shortage. Le Parisien also notes that CRS had been posted at the gates of Paris to prevent the formation of roadblocks. 

The movement stops on November 7, after the signing of a protocol between the unions and the employers. 


That year, the movement brought together both transporters and farmers, who protested against fuel prices. The demonstration spreads, so that almost all refineries and depots in France are shut down. 

The situation is unblocked after a week, when the government decides to grant specific aid to each branch. 


This movement, longer than the previous ones, is led by several socio-professional categories, denouncing the pension reform. In October, at the height of the conflict, more than 5,000 service stations ran dry.

The government then decided to use the strong method, by lifting the dams installed. Also, recalls Le Figaro , employees are requisitioned by bailiff. The situation is therefore gradually returning to normal, before the final adoption of the highly controversial text on October 26.


Labor law is at the heart of this new episode of shortage. In June 2016, the tone rose between the government and the protesting unions, which raised the threat of a shortage of gasoline to obtain the withdrawal of the text of Myriam El Khomri.

The movement against the bill was quickly joined by the employees of the nuclear power plants as well as those of the refineries where the strikers went so far as to block the fuel depots causing a shortage of gasoline.


In 2019, it is around the pension reform to be in the sights of the strikers. On December 5, 2019, seven out of eight French refineries were blocked, giving many motorists a glimpse of a fuel shortage at gas stations.

At the same time, the strikers were also opposed to the government’s plan to abolish the tax exemption so far in force for non-road diesel. The movement was particularly followed in the west of the territory, where construction professionals blocked the oil depots of Brest, Le Mans and Vern-sur-Seiche, near Rennes in order to defend this tax advantage on diesel.

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