Azara Blog: Government whinges that some people are using red diesel illegally

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Date published: 2007/11/03

The BBC says:

Thousands of motorists nationwide are filling up with illegal fuel, according to Revenue and Customs.

Customs officers have carried out spot checks at petrol stations, supermarkets and car parks to catch motorists using reduced-duty fuels.

In some areas one in five tanks in vehicles stopped were found to contain red diesel, an agricultural fuel only intended for off-road farming vehicles.

Red diesel only costs about 35p a litre - about 65p less than ordinary fuels.
Red diesel works in the same way as normal diesel but, because it is taxed at a lower rate, it is only to be used in agricultural vehicles.

It is chemically marked with a red dye to make it more identifiable.

Unfortunately the BBC does not bother to ask the obvious questions. Why should red diesel exist at all? Why should farmers get to burn fuel without having to cover the environmental damage they are causing? Why should government so massively subsidise one (as it happens, relatively small) industry? If the government did not allow such arbitrary subsidies, then the government would not have to whinge that people were taking advantage of the subsidies illegally.

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