Truckers up in horns about rising diesel prices
Lorry driver blew their horns on Thursday morning in protest against the government’s announcement to raise tax on diesel by three cents.29 May 2008
THE NETHERLANDS - Dutch lorry drivers blew their horns at 11:45 Thursday morning, drawing attention to the problem of rising diesel prices.
The transport sector is angry at the government for raising tax on diesel by EUR 0.03 cents per litre as of 1 July, despite the fact that the price of the fuel has risen EUR 0.30 cents per litre over the last year. Many companies work with long-term contracts, making it difficult for them to pass on increases to consumers.
Transport organisations have also delivered a petition to MPs in The Hague, including conservative VVD leader Mark Rutte. His party has made no secret of its support for the transport sector. VVD MP Paul de Krom says, "The transport sector is being forced to bear the load."
Some lorry drivers want to take the protests further, following the example of colleagues abroad.
In London on Tuesday, angry truckers parked hundreds of lorries in the city centre, and in France they blocked motorways.
With demand exceeding supply, the government is not responsible for the worldwide increase in the price of basic fuel. However, 62 percent of the price of petrol consists of duty and VAT, and for diesel the figure is almost 50percent.
The Netherlands has one of the highest fuel tax regimes in the world. Deputy Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager says this stimulates environmentally friendly measures.
However fuel costs currently make up 20 percent of operating costs in the transport sector.
Though Belgium has cut duty on fuel, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy wants fuel duty throughout Europe to be lowered, it is unlikely that the Dutch government will back down on the latest proposed increase.
[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]