Fine Gael’s Deputy James Bannon is highlighting the impact that fuel launderers are having on businesses, motorists, and farmers in Longford and Westmeath.
“I am aware of at least four legitimate filling stations in Longford and Westmeath that have closed down as a result of the lower prices offered by rogue operators. With our proximity to the border area, where much of this activity is concentrated, we are clearly being targeted by fuel launderers,” said Deputy Bannon.
“Agricultural diesel, which is ‘washed’ and then sold on to motorists, is causing significant damage to vehicles, with many people having to get new engines as a result. We simply cannot afford the €200 million that fuel laundering is estimated to cost the economy nationally.
“Strong measures need to be taken to reduce the volume of illegally traded fuel. I support the IFA proposal that the problem of illegal fuel should be tackled by the introduction of a robust non-removable marker for all agricultural diesel. It is also essential that substantial penalties including loss of licence be imposed on retailers of illegally traded fuel.
“Fuel laundering, to remove the marker added to lower-taxed mineral oil for off-road use, has been a problem for many years. Environmental requirements in relation to the sulphur content of fuel changed from the beginning of 2011, which resulted in marked fuel with the same sulphur content as road fuel coming onto the market. With the change, fuel laundering became more viable and criminal gangs intensified their laundering and distribution activities dramatically from the first half of 2011,” concluded Deputy Bannon.