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Calls to equalise diesel duty rates to deter fuel laundering

Retail Ireland says illegal fuel laundering to remove the dye from agricultural diesel is costing the state €150m in lost tax revenues annually.

May 2011 file photo of a search at a laundering plant in Co Meath.
May 2011 file photo of a search at a laundering plant in Co Meath.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

RETAIL IRELAND has called for a stronger garda and Revenue Commissioners’ response to illegal fuel laundering, estimating that it is costing the state €150 million in lost tax revenue every year.

The IBEC group says that the illegal laundering is taking a toll on petrol stations as well as funding criminals and harming the environment.

Illegal laundering plants remove the green dye from agricultural diesel which retails for around 70c a litre. Agricultural fuel is subject to lower excise taxes than diesel for road use.

Without the signature dye, launderers can sell the fuel for around €1.30 a litre, according to Retail Ireland.

The group is calling for the duty rates on agricultural fuel and motor fuel to be equalised in an effort to remove the profit margin attractive to diesel launderers and that a reclaim system should be introduced through which agricultural fuel users could claim back.

The Department of Finance declined to comment on Retail Ireland’s call for rate equalisation when contacted by

The Revenue Commissioners said that its staff regularly carry out operations targeting suppliers and users of laundered fuel, and it is involved in a multi-agency cross border group which focuses specifically on the illegal fuel trade in the border area.

Last year, Revenue officials detected four oil laundering plants and seized a total of 268,000 litres of laundered fuel.

So far this year, nine illegal fuel laundering plants have been found – six in Co Monaghan, and one in each of counties Louth, Meath and Donegal.

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