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Excise duties/ commercial diesel: public consultation

The European Commission has launched an online consultation seeking views from the public and business on reforming Community legislation on excise duty for commercial diesel.

Comments were invited by 30 September 2006 but the Commission services accepted to take into account some comments that arrived after this deadline.

A total of 52 external contributions were received in response to the consultation. Of that, 37 were from national federations or associations, 7 were from European or international bodies, 7 were from business and one was from a private citizen.

The main industry sector that reacted to the consultation was the haulage sector, which accounted for more than half of the responses. Tank (or service) stations and petroleum industry participation amounted to more than 10% of the responses. Other sectors, such as automobile industry, maritime ports, handcraft operators and railway firms also participated.

The haulage industry warmly welcomed the Commission initiative. The great majority of the hauliers support a change to the current situation. The preferred option is total harmonisation in the nearest future (2018 seems too far away) and, if possible, at a lower rate. In case this option is not realistic, they could accept an enhanced approximation as an interim solution towards harmonisation or as a second best option.

The representatives of the car industry acknowledged that the current situation is not satisfactory from an internal market perspective. However, since they do not suffer from the current situation, they would prefer the no-change option to any of the other proposed options.

At the European level, representatives of the petroleum industry have adopted a neutral stand on the proposed options. However, when located in high-taxing countries, tank stations representatives support enhanced approximation or, even preferably, total harmonisation.