Equalising the price of diesel and petrol proposed for budget 2018
It has been proposed that the Government should bring the retail price of motor diesel to at least the same level as that of petrol by increasing the excise rates on diesel on a phased-in basis.
In its pre-budget submission to Minister Paschal Donohoe, the Environmental Pillar said apart from the climate impacts of burning fossil fuels, particulates from diesel engines are causes of a range of human health problems.
It says that according to the World Health Organization, diesel exhaust fumes can cause cancer, and that diesel cars emit ten times more health damaging pollutants than petrol cars.
The Environmental Pillar says around 1400 people die annually with many more suffering severe debilitations and associated medical and social costs, as a result of air pollution.
It says if the excise on both fuels was equalised, a diesel vehicle would still pay less tax than the petrol on the basis of greater fuel efficiency.
Due to this fuel efficiency, a car will travel further on a litre of diesel when compared to petrol but will produce more harmful emissions.
According to the Environmental Pillar, our closest trading partner, the UK, has already equalised excise rates on petrol and diesel.
It says a number of countries, notably France and Belgium, have also moved to equalise the excise rate on petrol and diesel.