European fleets running diesel vehicles could face higher fuel costs after the European Parliament’s economics committee called for the European Union’s minimum rate of excise duty on diesel to be raised to that for unleaded petrol.
Currently, diesel enjoys a lower rate. However, if the proposal is accepted, then countries charging the minimum duty on diesel will have to raise it from the current E302 per 1,000 litres to E359.
The countries that would be forced to increase diesel duty significantly by such a rise are Bulgaria, Estonia, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovenia.
Small rises would be forced in the Czech Republic, Malta, Austria and Finland.
The existing differential “distorts the market”, said MEPs, who were debating a current review of EU excise duty rules.
The committee said that having different rates boosted emissions by encouraging “fuel tourism”, with diesel consumers making special journeys or using longer routes to fill up in a country with low taxes.
“Also, since diesel and petrol have similar impacts, especially from the point of view of CO2 emissions, there is no environmental reason for the two minimum rates to differ,” said the committee.
The European Commission is also backing equalisation, despite a recent consultant’s report recommending tax breaks to promote diesel.