Macron takes on motorists over diesel tax hike

(Climate Change News, 6 Nov 2018) The French president has defended increasing the tax on diesel to tackle air pollution, as drivers prepare to block the roads in protest.

Emmanuel Macron defended his decision to hike tax on diesel on Tuesday, as French drivers planned nationwide protests over the price of fuel.

Speaking to national radio station Europe 1, Emmanuel Macron said the rise stood “in line with what the previous majority voted and wanted. In other words: to tax fossil fuels more [and] whatever produces emissions. This is how we will reinvest in renewable energies.”

He added: “I would rather tax fuel than tax work. Those who grumble over fuel price hikes also demand that we fight against air pollution because their children suffer from illnesses.”

Rising by 6.5 cents a litre, the diesel tax change is part of a wider package of financial measures set to come into force on 1 January 2019. Its aim is to combat air pollution by ending incentives to burn dirty diesel.

But the pill is hard to swallow for the country’s poorer car-dependent households, who are already grappling with a fuel price rise resulting from global market fluctuations. At the time of writing a barrel of Brent crude oil costs $72, up from $60 a year ago.

The price of diesel has jumped 20.6% in the last year, data compiled by Carbu.com shows. It accounts for 78.5% of road transport fuel in France, according to the French Union of Petroleum Industries.

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Climate Change News, 6 Nov 2018: Macron takes on motorists over diesel tax hike