EU Study on new fuel markers – lower taxes to prevent fraud

Recent concerns have arisen from several Member States that the current common fiscal marker used for industrial fuel is easy to remove and that it causes massive losses of tax revenues. These concerns come in the context of the EU legislation that allows Member States to levy lower tax on fuel used for heating, in agriculture or in marine transport. This kind of fuel is normally tagged with a chemical marker. The diesel for cars that is sold at the standard rate does not contain chemical markers. By removing the chemical marker from heating oil, fraudsters can sell it as regular fuel and pocket in the price difference.

The European Commission analyzed the reputedly notified situation and published an open call to find a new marker. The Commission’s Joint Research Center tested several new candidate markers intended to be used in gas oil (diesel) and kerosene that are more resilient to fraud than the one currently applied, and concluded that introducing a new marker might cost less than Member States currently lose in tax revenues.

To introduce those new markers, the Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) will continue the work to evaluate the safety of the candidate markers to the environment and human health.