Inflationary pressures will drive people to seek cheaper, illegal alternatives
Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS) has today expressed grave concern that the phasing out of the reduced rate of excise duty on fuels will only serve to increase black market activity. The measures were announced today (Tuesday 21 February) by Government as part of its new cost-of-living package.
Measures agreed at Cabinet will see petrol, diesel and marked gas oil prices rising gradually between June and October. According to AA Ireland, petrol was €1.65 per litre in February or 2.5 per cent higher than January 2023 on average. The organisation contends that the reintroduction of excise duty on petrol will result in a €10 increase per tank of fuel.
RAS warned that a phasing-out of excise duty reductions is likely to lead to increased smuggling and laundered fuel. The representative body asserts that high inflation has provided new opportunities to criminal gangs to profit from black market operations. This contention is borne out by the fact in 2022 alone, 47,993 litres of marked fuel oil was seized by Revenue officers.
RAS spokesman, Benny Gilsenan, said “With inflationary pressures affecting many households, some will be incentivised to look to alternative means of acquiring fuel, which regrettably does not comply with the law. Where this has occurred in the past, RAS has observed a significant spike in cross-border smuggling. This damages legitimate businesses, local jobs and ultimately the Irish Exchequer”.