“Of course we will be affected by higher fuel prices”, said Philippe Colombani. The president of the UNIC union, the National Union of Independent Drivers, has made no secret of his concerns. Fuel costs have soared since the start of the war in Ukraine on February 24 and the EU’s imposition of sanctions on Russia. According to the Ministry of Ecological Transition, in the week of March 14, the average selling price of diesel was 1.97 euros per liter, and the average price of unleaded diesel was 1.93 euros per liter. Between December 31, 2021, and March 11, 2022, the first price increased by 39% and the second by 26%.
In this regard, the driving school has taken action and has raised prices. “We had to add €1 per hour for driving and €20 for the package, which was about €1,500 initially”, Mr. Colombani explained that his driving school is located at Noisy-le-Grand in Seine-Saint-Denis. Decisions were also made at the driving school where Sandrine works (she did not want to be named), Lannion, Côtes-d’Armor. The goal is to handle the completeness of price increases: “The gas fee for our car has gone up from 60 euros to 80 euros”she explained, before specifying: “For two decades, our driving lessons have increased by 30 euros. We are today at 44 euros per hour. »
On March 15, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced a fuel discount of 15 centimes per litre, applicable from 1Uh April. Although welcomed by managers, the measure has been deemed insufficient given the impact of higher prices. In fact, the Ministry of Economy has implemented standard contracts for driving schools for a year. However, it has to make it mandatory to mention the frozen hourly price for the entire contract period. UNIC and other unions want Bercy to lift the price freeze on signed contracts in order to pass the cost of inflation into their packages.
Accelerating the transition to electrification
Nicolas Hettinger remains optimistic since becoming the owner of the only driving school in Madonne-et-Lamerey in the Vosges region in 2008: “The fact that I am remote gives me the advantage of not being competed by other driving schools or online platforms. This is a positive point for this period. »
And for good reason, online platforms are much less affected by price increases. At 749 euros for a 20-hour drive, offers from startups such as En Voiture Simone or Ornikar have not left drivers’ license candidates indifferent, paying an average of 1,800 euros for the test in France. Both companies have an attractive model based on working with independent drivers. En Voiture Simone recorded a 38% increase in registrations in the month from January to February. “We’re growing. It’s too early to know if it’s inflation-related”explained the startup’s co-founder Edouard Rudolf.
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