Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Thursday, September 01, 2011

French Heating Oil Prices

Oil tanker delivering to our Gite in Brittany

For both our Brittany Holiday Home and the house we live in in Bedfordshire, UK, we have an oil boiler for the central heating and hot water. The French system is slightly different in that it has a flash (on demand) boiler that switches on to heat up the water when you open a tap whereas the UK system is a conventional hot water cylinder in the airing cupboard, but other than that they're pretty similar.

And the heating oil which is 28 sec Kerosene is the same.

But what is really different is the price we pay for our heating oil in the two countries.

Just before I left for France I decided to order 1500 litres of heating oil for the UK as I wanted to buy before the prices started rising in the autumn and winter, so the day before I left I phoned around, got the best price I could and asked for the oil to be delivered whilst we were away in France.

When we were over in France one of the first things I did was to phone up a local supplier and ask him to deliver 1000 litres of heating oil for the holiday home as we were getting down to the last 300 litres or so and so it was time to refill the tank. The French tanker driver arrived on the Tuesday, quite by coincidence the same day that the UK delivery took place.

In the UK we paid 54.95 pence per litre - which is incidentally the highest price I have ever had to pay for heating oil in England, but economic conditions, prices of a barrel of oil, uncertainties in the Middle East, etc all conspired to make this the price it was.

So after 5% VAT the bill came to £865.46 for 1500 litres.

In France I'm not sure whether there is any TVA tax charged or not, I'm only ever quoted a single price per litre, and I paid 88.6 cents a litre, making the total bill for €886.00 for 1000 litres, or roughly £782.

So for only 10% more money I got 50% more heating oil in the UK. This works out that French heating oil is a wopping 36% more expensive than back at home.


Fortunately we don't use anywhere near as much oil in France as we do in the UK and we only have to fill the tank every couple of years or so rather than once maybe twice a year in the UK depending on how cold the winter is, but the price differential is really noticeable when you see comparative numbers like this.



  • TVA is @ 19.6% and on heating oil. Even so fuel prices are more than UK. When 'people' say that we shouldn't get the Winter Fuel Allce. there are just as cold - if not colder _ winters here in France! The BIG bugbear is the current awful exchange rate.

    By Anonymous Lesley, at September 02, 2011  

  • Hi Lesley

    I did suspect full rate TVA was applied to the French heating oil, and that will explain a fair chunk of the difference, and of course as you say the exchange rate also makes a big impact.

    I didn't mention it previously but I've always noticed in the past an oil price difference between the UK and France but not quantified it quite so clearly as I could this time. At the end of the day it's the same stuff out of the ground and I'm sure it's sold at similar wholesale prices, so tax and 'cost of doing business in France' must be what is making up the rest of the difference. France is not as cheap as it used to be these days

    By Blogger Geoffrey, at September 02, 2011  

  • Have just bought our oil. €976 for 1000lts.
    Huge OUCH!

    By Anonymous Lesley, at November 01, 2011  

  • Hi Lesley

    Ouch indeed!

    Your €976 is roughly another 10% up on the price I paid in August, and looking at the heating oil charts on, that looks consistent with the UK price increase.

    Trouble is I can't see the prices coming down at all. It used to be that it was cheaper to buy in the Summer but now every time you buy its more expensive than the last time. Sigh ...

    By Blogger Geoffrey, at November 01, 2011  

  • Nearly half the households in the northeastern region of the United States use heating oil to provide part or all of their space heating needs.

    Heating oil Hamilton

    By Blogger Mac, at January 23, 2012  

  • At the end of the day it's the same stuff out of the ground and I'm sure it's sold at similar wholesale prices. Furnace Repair Edmond

    By Blogger Unknown, at January 18, 2013  

  • Heating oil heats over 8 million homes in the US. Many people use it as their only source of heat, yet as prices continue to take it's toil on families bills, still few homes are actually efficiently sourcing the cheapest oil, and using it effectively.

    furnace service Toronto

    By Anonymous furnace service Toronto, at January 20, 2013  

  • I just bought boiler back from England . It is set up for 28 sec Kerosene is the same As
    French heating oil

    By Blogger Unknown, at September 05, 2016  

  • French heating oil is 35sec red diesel,. English heating oil is Kerosene 28sec. If you know where to get Kerosene delivered in bulk in France, please do tell.

    By Blogger madmaxjsy, at December 09, 2018  

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