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Faced with rising fuel prices, driving schools are looking for a new model

“Of course we are impacted by the rise in fuel prices”, says Philippe Colombani. The president of the National Union of Independent Drivers (UNIC) does not hide his concern. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, on February 24, and the sanctions imposed by the European Union against Russia, fuel costs have soared. According to the Ministry of Ecological Transition, diesel sold on average, during the week of March 14, 1.97 euros per liter and unleaded, 1.93 euros per litre. Between December 31, 2021 and March 11, 2022, the price increase was 39% for the first and 26% for the second.

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To respond to this, driving schools have taken action and have already increased their prices. “We had to add 1 euro per hour of driving and 20 euros to our packages, which were initially around 1,500 euros”, explains Mr. Colombani, whose driving school is located in Noisy-le-Grand, in Seine-Saint-Denis. A decision also taken in the driving school where Sandrine works (who did not wish to give her name), in Lannion, in the Côtes-d’Armor. The objective is to deal with a full whose price has jumped: “Refueling for our cars has gone from 60 to 80 euros”she explains, before specifying: “In twenty years, our driving lessons have increased by 30 euros. We are today at 44 euros per hour. »

On March 15, the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, announced a discount on fuel of 15 centimes per liter, applicable from 1er April. Although welcomed by the managers, the measure is already considered insufficient in view of the effects caused by the rise in prices. Indeed, for a year, the Ministry of the Economy has imposed a standard contract on driving schools. However, it must imperatively mention an hourly price frozen throughout the duration of the contract. UNIC and other unions want Bercy to lift the price freeze on contracts already signed, in order to pass on the cost of inflation to their packages.

Accelerating the switch to electric

Owner since 2008 of the only driving school in Madonne-et-Lamerey, in the Vosges, Nicolas Hettinger remains optimistic: “The fact that I am remote gives me the advantage of not suffering from competition from other driving schools or online platforms. This is a positive point in this period. »

And for good reason, online platforms are much less affected by rising prices. At 749 euros for twenty hours of driving, the offer displayed by start-ups such as En Voiture Simone or Ornikar does not leave candidates for a driving license indifferent, the average sum paid in France for this examination being 1,800 euros. Both companies have an attractive model based on partnerships with independent drivers. By car Simone recorded a 38% increase in registrations in one month, between January and February. “We are constantly growing. It is still early to know if this is linked to inflation”explains Edouard Rudolf, co-founder of the start-up.

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