We are doing science for policy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
The JRC proposes a new 'Euromarker' substance to mark gas oil and kerosene for lower tax rate use in support to the Taxation and Customs Union Directorate-General, DG TAXUD.
This work was triggered by technical problems related to the current Euromarker substance applied since 2001 since this substance can be easily removed leading to potential frauds.
The European Commission adopted the Euromarker (Solvent Yellow 124 or SY124) in 2001 as a common pan-European fiscal marker to label gas oil and kerosene. In parallel, several other marking systems based on other dyes and markers were already in use in different EU Member States.
Generally the use of a marker makes it possible to sell fuel with a lower tax rate for dedicated sectors such as agriculture, marine transport and domestic heating.
In contrast, non-marked fuels are normally fully taxed and intended for road transport. Unfortunately SY124 can be easily removed or destroyed which has made tax fraud possible.
This has resulted in substantial losses of tax revenue and a number of Member States have repeatedly notified the European Commission of this problem.
Some Member States currently invest considerable amounts of resources and effort in tracking illegal use of laundered fuel by performing over 10 000 measurements per year of SY124 in gas oil leading to significant costs. Other Member States have recently adopted a new national marker to prevent this kind of fraud.
In support to DG TAXUD, to find a new marker that could potentially replace SY124 as Euromarker, the JRC has performed different kinds of tests resulting in more than 1 200 samples for checking resilience of four candidate markers alongside with SY124.
Generally the tests involved laundering over different adsorbents, chemical break-down and different physical treatments.
All new candidate markers are colourless but road-side detection of the candidate markers is possible and based on dedicated instrumentation. Based on these experiments one candidate marker outperforms the others and is resilient to most treatments. This candidate marker could potentially be used to replace SY124. It should be noted that all tested candidate markers perform much better than the current Euromarker.
Read more in: S. Elordui-Zapatarietxe and H. Emteborg, "Evaluation of the Performance of the Short-Listed Candidate Markers Regarding the Technical Requirements", EUR 28670 EN, doi:10.2760/343886