Hundreds of drivers convicted for illegal use of green diesel

Gardai at a checkpoint. File photo
Gardai at a checkpoint. File photo
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The latest available statistics show that 118 drivers were hit with court convictions in relation to use of green diesel in a road vehicle, for the first nine months of the year.

Farmers make up by far the highest proportion of those caught misusing marked gas oil (green diesel) in 2016.

According to figures from the Revenue Commissioners, 16 farmers have been hit with fines totally €46,000, imposed by the courts, for the misuse of agricultural diesel so far this year.

The standard fine for the offence is a €2,500 fine, but one Mayo farmer was fined €9,000. In total there were 118 court ordered fines imposed for the misuse of marked gas oil.

Court convictions due use of green diesel in a road vehicle:

  • 2016 (to September) - 118
  • 2015 (full year) -310
  • 2014 (full year) - 288

The law

The 1999 Finance Act permits the use of marked gas oil in the engines of “agricultural tractor, or a road roller or a dumper or an off road dumper, or a mobile crane or mobile well drilling equipment or mobile concrete pumping equipment”.

Agricultural Diesel

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Marked gas oil carries duty at a rate of €47.36 per 1,000 litres compared to road diesel which carries a much higher duty rate.

The sales of agricultural diesel (Marked Gas Oil) following a decline remain stable, according to the Revenue Commissioners.

This is believed to be due in part to Revenue’s successes in tackling the laundering of agricultural diesel.

In early 2016, Revenue carried out a random sampling programme which tested for the presence of the new marker in road diesel in the storage tanks of around 200, or almost 10pc, forecourt retailers.

No samples tested positive for the Accutrace S10 fuel marker.

Revenue says the sampling, which was carried out under the independent supervision of Revenue's Statistics and Economics Research Branch, demonstrates that the selling of laundered fuel in the market is negligible and close to being fully eliminated.

Tackling the laundering of agricultural diesel is, and will remain, a priority for Revenue, it says.

Revenue have also highlighted that any increase in the excise rate applied to diesel will increase the differential with agricultural diesel and increase the incentive for fuel fraud.

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