November 5, 2018 / 10:19 AM / 12 days ago

French retailers rally round consumers irked by rising fuel prices

* Carrefour, Leclerc to sell petrol at cost prices in Nov.

* Macron facing criticism over rising fuel prices

* Plans for road blockades

PARIS, Nov 5 (Reuters) - France’s top two hypermarket chains Leclerc and Carrefour said they would sell petrol at relatively cheap prices this month, in response to anger at government plans for a fuel tax, which critics say will hit consumers’ spending power.

Carrefour said on Monday that its special offer on petrol prices would run between now and Nov. 17, while Leclerc’s similar offer will run until the end of the month.

The government has set the fuel tax in order to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

President Emmanuel Macron has also defended the rising price of fuel at the pumps, which have prompted activists to plan protest blockades on Nov. 17 across France, stating they are due mostly to rising oil prices.

Consumers’ anger over the fuel tax is the latest sign of discontent facing Macron.

France’s far-right Rassemblement National (RN) party jumped ahead of Macron’s LREM for the first time in a poll of voting intentions for May 2019 European Parliament elections.

Macron’s standing in opinion polls has also been hit by the departure of two high-profile ministers, while stubbornly high unemployment, high taxes and rising fuel prices have added to signs of malaise. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon and Gwenaelle Barzic; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Louise Heavens)

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