Spatial and Temporal Viz of Gas Price, in France

A great think in France, is that we can play with a great database with gas price, in all gas stations, almost eveyday. The file is rather big, so let’s make sure we have enough memory to run our codes,

> rm(list=ls())

To extract the data, first, we should extract the xml file, and then convert it in a more common R object (say a list)

> year=2014
> loc=paste("",year,sep="")
> download.file(loc,destfile="")

Content type 'application/zip' length 15248088 bytes (14.5 MB)

> unzip("", exdir="./")
> fichier=paste("PrixCarburants_annuel_",year,
> library(plyr)
> library(XML)
> library(lubridate)
> l=xmlToList(fichier)

We have a large dataset, with prices, for various types of gaz, for almost any gas station in France, almost every day, in 2014. It is a 1.4Gb list, with 11,064 elements (each of them being a gas station)

> length(l)
[1] 11064

There are two ways to look at the data. A first idea is to consider a gas station, and to extract the time series.

> time_series=function(no,type_gas="Gazole"){
+   prix=list()
+   date=list()
+   nom=list()
+   j=0
+   for(i in 1:length(l[[no]])){
+     v=names(l[[no]])
+     if(!is.null(v[i])){
+       if(v[i]=="prix"){
+         j=j+1
+  date[[j]]=as.character(l[[no]][[i]]["maj"])
+  prix[[j]]=as.character(l[[no]][[i]]["valeur"])
+  nom[[j]]=as.character(l[[no]][[i]]["nom"])
+       }}
+   }
+   id=which(unlist(nom)==type_gas)
+   n=length(id)
+   jour=function(j) as.Date(substr(date[[id[j]]],1,10),"%Y-%m-%d")
+   jour_heure=function(j) as.POSIXct(substr(date[[id[j]]],1,19), format = "%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S", tz = "UTC")
+   ext_y=function(j) substr(date[[id[j]]],1,4)
+   ext_m=function(j) substr(date[[id[j]]],6,7)
+   ext_d=function(j) substr(date[[id[j]]],9,10)
+   ext_h=function(j) substr(date[[id[j]]],12,13)
+   ext_mn=function(j) substr(date[[id[j]]],15,16)
+   prix_essence=function(i) as.numeric(prix[[id[i]]])/1000
+   base1=data.frame(indice=no,
+            id=l[[no]]$.attrs["id"],
+            adresse=l[[no]]$adresse,
+            ville=l[[no]]$ville,
+  lat=as.numeric(l[[no]]$.attrs["latitude"])
+  lon=as.numeric(l[[no]]$.attrs["longitude"])
+       cp=l[[no]]$.attrs["cp"],
+       saufjour=l[[no]]$ouverture["saufjour"], 
+       Y=unlist(lapply(1:n,ext_y)),
+       M=unlist(lapply(1:n,ext_m)),
+       D=unlist(lapply(1:n,ext_d)),
+       H=unlist(lapply(1:n,ext_h)),
+       MN=unlist(lapply(1:n,ext_mn)),
+    prix=unlist(lapply(1:n,prix_essence)))
+   base1=base1[!$prix),]
+   date_d=paste(year,"-01-01 12:00:00",sep="")
+   date_f=paste(year,"-12-31 12:00:00",sep="")
+   vecteur_date=seq(as.POSIXct(date_d, format =
+                 "%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S"),
+                    as.POSIXct(date_f, format = 
+                 "%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S"),by="days")
+   date=paste(base1$Y,"-",base1$M,"-",base1$D,
+   " ",base1$H,":",base1$MN,":00",sep="")
+   date_base=as.POSIXct(date, format = 
+                "%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S", tz = "UTC")
+   idx=function(t) sum(vecteur_date[t]>=date_base)
+   vect_idx=Vectorize(idx)(1:length(vecteur_date))
+   P=c(NA,base1$prix)
+   base2=ts(P[1+vect_idx],
+         start=year,frequency=365)
+   list(base=base1,
+        ts=base2)
+ }

To get the time series, extrapolation is necessary, since we have here observation at irregular dates. Here, for instance, for the second gas station, we get

> plot(time_series(2)$ts,ylim=c(1,1.6),col="red")
> lines(time_series(2,"SP98")$ts,col="blue")

An alternative is to study gas price from a spatial perspective. Given a date, we want the price in all stations. As previously, we keep the last price observed, in each station,

> spatial=function(dt){
+   base=NULL
+   for(no in 1:length(l)){  
+     prix=list()
+     date=list()
+     j=0
+     for(i in 1:length(l[[no]])){
+     v=names(l[[no]])
+     if(!is.null(v[i])){
+       if(v[i]=="prix"){
+   j=j+1
+   date[[j]]=as.character(l[[no]][[i]]["maj"])
+       }}
+   }
+   n=j
+   D=as.Date(substr(unlist(date),1,10),"%Y-%m-%d")
+   k=which(D==D[which.max(D[D<=dt])])
+ if(length(k)>0){
+   B=Vectorize(function(i) l[[no]][[k[i]]])(1:length(k))
+ if("nom" %in%  rownames(B)){  
+   k=which(B["nom",]=="Gazole")
+   prix=as.numeric(B["valeur",k])/1000
+   if(length(prix)==0) prix=NA
+   base1=data.frame(indice=no,
+   lat=as.numeric(l[[no]]$.attrs["latitude"])
+   lon=as.numeric(l[[no]]$.attrs["longitude"])
+   gaz=prix)
+   base=rbind(base,base1)
+ }}}
+ return(base)}

For instance, for the 5th of May, 2014, we get the following dataset

> B=spatial(as.Date("2014-05-05"))

To visualize prices, consider only mainland France (excluding islands in the Pacific, or close to the Caribeans)

> idx=which((B$lon>(-10))&(B$lon<20)&
+ (B$lat>35)&(B$lat<55))
> B=B[idx,]
> Q=quantile(B$gaz,seq(0,1,by=.01),na.rm=TRUE)
> Q[1]=0
> x=as.numeric(cut(B$gaz,breaks=unique(Q)))
> CL=c(rgb(0,0,1,seq(1,0,by=-.025)),
+ rgb(1,0,0,seq(0,1,by=.025)))
> plot(B$lon,B$lat,pch=19,col=CL[x])

Red dots are the most expensive gas stations, that particular day.

If we add contours of the French regions, we get

> library(maps)
> map("france")
> points(B$lon,B$lat,pch=19,col=CL[x])


We can also focus on some specific region, say the South of Brittany.

> library(OpenStreetMap)
> map <- openmap(c(lat= 48,   lon= -3),
+                c(lat= 47,   lon= -2))
> map <- openproj(map) 
> plot(map)
> points(B$lon,B$lat,pch=19,col=CL[x])

As we can see on that map, there are regions that are rather empty, where the closest gas station might be a bit far away. Actually, it is possible to add Voronoi sets on the map,

> dB=data.frame(lon=B$lon,lat=B$lat)
> idx=which(!duplicated(dB))
> dB=dB[idx,]


which could help to get the price of the closest gaz station.

> library(tripack)
> V <- voronoi.mosaic(dB$lon[id],dB$lat[id])
> plot(V,add=TRUE)

It is possible to plot each polygon with the color of the gaz station we add. Actually, it is a bit tricky, and I could not find a R function to to this. So I did it manually,

> plot(map)
> P <- voronoi.polygons(V)
> library(sp)
> point_in_i=function(i,point)[1],point[2],P[[i]][,1],P[[i]][,2])
> which_point=function(i) which(Vectorize(function(j) point_in_i(i,c(dB$lon[id[j]],dB$lat[id[j]])))(1:length(id))>0)
> for(i in 1:length(P)) polygon(P[[i]],col=CL[x[id[which_point(i)]]],border=NA)

With this map, we can see that we have blue areas, i.e. all stations in a given area are cheap (because of competition), but in some places, a very expensive one is next to a very cheap one. I guess we should look closer at the dynamics… [to be continued….]

8 thoughts on “Spatial and Temporal Viz of Gas Price, in France”

  1. Hi,

    thanks for the post & the code! I have a question? How come there very often only on price report per day? Is it forbidden to change the price in france, or is the data not complete?

  2. Hello,
    I tried your code, but I do not suceeded to get the data. R said the the zip is coccupt. So, I succeeded like that : I downloaded the doc on “”, and I imported that with the function xmlInternalTreeParse(“~/Desktop/PrixCarburants_annuel_2014/PrixCarburants_annuel_2014.xml”) from the package XML.
    Then, I do not understand where come from the vector dB$lon[id] and dB$lat[id], How did you get this? thanks.

      1. That’s the same result for another year, but that’s ok with the “manual” downloading.
        My problem is about the voronoi.mosaic function, it does not work, and I do not know why. I suppose that i did not get the dB data frame, because I did not see that in the code above (Spatial function).

        1. I’m having the same problem with the voronoi.mosaic call. It keeps telling me object ‘dB’ not found, regardless of the year I run the data for. Any suggestions?

      2. Nice openstreetmap :
        some red plots are on highways, that is not too surprising here. Not too found of the areas, especially the one above the “ile du Ponant” 😉

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