Why we are far from imposing a tax on kerosene

(EurActiv, 12 Jul 2019) “We need to put an end to the preferential treatment given to airline companies,” said Manfred Weber, the spitzenkandidat put forward by the European Peoples’ Party (EPP) during the European elections campaign. On that point, Weber agreed with his rival Frans Timmermans.

However, environmentalists have been demanding the introduction of a kerosene tax for years. While there are taxes on diesel, petrol, oil and gas, kerosene is tax-exempt throughout the world.

Although German politicians from the Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens, the Left and the far-right AfD also favour higher taxation on flights, there is currently no corresponding draft bill in sight.

Following a request by the Free Democratic Party (FDP), the German government stated that it is considering abolishing the tax exemption that kerosene currently enjoys.

At the same time, however, national unilateral action would entail “considerable technical and administrative difficulties”, the government said.

After all, it would hardly be possible to measure what proportion of kerosene is being flown in or only absorbed in Germany. Airlines would then presumably engage in “fuel tourism”, simply by refuelling kerosene abroad before flying into Germany. This would “neither be desirable in terms of tax policy nor would it improve the environmental situation,” said Germany’s government.

“Air traffic is an international business, meaning unilateral solutions do not make sense,” said Bernd Reuther, a member of the Bundestag’s Transport Committee and one of the MPs behind the FDP’s request.

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EurActiv, 12 Jul 2019: Why we are far from imposing a tax on kerosene