Monday 19 March 2018

Carbon tax pushes up coal and briquette prices

The second rise in the tax in successive years will see the cost of a 40kg bag of coal rise by €1.20
The second rise in the tax in successive years will see the cost of a 40kg bag of coal rise by €1.20
Michael Kilcoyne

Charlie Weston, Personal Finance Editor

THE cost of a bag of coal and a bale of peat briquettes is to rise from tomorrow, due to the latest hike in carbon tax.

The second rise in the tax in successive years will see the cost of a 40kg bag of coal rise by €1.20.

A bale of peat briquettes will go up by 26c. There were similar rises in the costs of the two solid fuels on May 1 last year.

Chief executive of the Solid Fuel Trade Group John Keogh said Minister for Finance Michael Noonan had refused requests from his organisation to defer the second rise in carbon tax.

Delaying the rise would offer relief to consumers and distributors of the fuels, Mr Keogh said.

The group, which represents coal and peat distributors, said there was lower valued added tax and no carbon tax at all on coal and peat sold in the North.

The average cost of a 40kg bag of coal is around €18, with €2.40 of this now made up of carbon tax.

A bale of briquettes costs between €4 and €5, with 52c of this cost made up of carbon tax following the latest rise.

Candidate for Fianna Fail in the election for Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council Sarah Ryan said the higher carbon tax would disproportionately hit older people.

Michael Kilcoyne, chairman of the Consumers Association of Ireland, described the new rise in carbon tax on solid fuels as a "stealth tax" as few were aware of it.

He claimed that the tax had little to do with the environment and was just another tax-gathering exercise.

"This comes on top of property tax, with water charges on the way. It has nothing to do with the environment and is just about draining money from households," Mr Kilcoyne said.

He called for the imposition of carbon tax to be delayed for five years to allow household incomes to recover.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Finance confirmed that it was asked by the Solid Fuel Trade Group to defer the introduction of the latest carbon tax rise, but the department said it was not in a position to postpone the tax hike.

Carbon tax was first introduced here in 2010.

The carbon tax applies to kerosene, marked gas oil, liquid petroleum gas, fuel oil, natural gas and solid fuels.

A bag of logs is the only fuel which does not have carbon tax applied to its cost.

The rate of tax, with effect from May 1 2013, was based on a charge of €10 per tonne of CO2 emitted by the fuel concerned.

The rates increases to €20 per tonne with effect from May this year.

Irish Independent

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