SOME motorists were forced to pay the carbon tax on fuel a day early after the country's biggest retailer imposed the price hike six hours before it was due to come into force.
Tesco last night admitted that seven of its 15 petrol stations imposed the 5c increase per litre of petrol and diesel from 6pm on Budget day, hours before the tax became law at midnight.
The UK multi-national was yesterday accused of sharp practice by imposing the carbon tax early. One customer said staff at its Dundrum outlet informed motorists they were following instructions from head office.
Irate customer Leeren Naicker said hundreds of motorists found themselves with higher bills.
"We queued from upwards of half an hour to get petrol yesterday evening, which would have been fine only after paying I discovered that they had already put the prices up on petrol.
"The staff said they got a call from head office and put the prices up immediately."
A spokesman said it was caused by a system error.
"If any person who bought petrol and has a receipt contacts us we will arrange for a refund."