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Germany considers taxes on high sulfur fuels

30 April 1999

According to press reports, Germany's government is considering raising taxes on gasoline and diesel fuels of high sulfur content next year. A draft legislation would raise tax on high-sulfur gasoline and diesel but not on fuels with a low sulfur content.

The increase in fuel taxes should be introduced not later than 1 July 2000. It could be included in the second phase of the German "ecological tax reform."

The planned tax increases would be 3 pfennigs per liter of gasoline and 4 pfennigs per liter of diesel (in the tax reform's first phase, gasoline prices were raised by 6 pfennigs a liter). The increases could raise 500 million marks in the first year and 350 million marks in the second year. According to a EU Directive, high sulfur fuels should be phased-out by the year 2005.

The use of high sulfur fuels produces emissions of sulfur dioxide and interferes with emission control catalysts. According to a EU 1996 standard (EN 590), the current maximum sulfur content in diesel fuel is 500 ppm.