Diesel excise rise set to be postponed over Brexit threat to hauliers

You can’t penalise people overnight for a change in government policy, says Naughten

Any moves to increase the price of diesel are likely to be postponed for several years because of Brexit’s potential threat to the haulage industry.

The Government levies excise of 48c on a litre of diesel, compared with 59c on a litre of petrol, and closing that gap will be one of a number of considerations for Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe ahead of the October budget. Government sources have said that some revenue-raising measures may be needed if more money is needed for tax cuts and spending increases.

But Minister for Climate Action and the Environment Denis Naughten has noted that successive governments had encouraged motorists to switch to diesel. "You can't penalise people overnight for a change in government policy," he told the Sunday Times. He also said the Government would be sensitive to the needs of the haulage sector as Brexit approached.

The Government has announced a range of measures to promote hybrid vehicles, but a significant number of cars on Irish roads have diesel engines. Almost three-quarters of cars registered in 2015 were diesel-powered.