Rules for heating oil get stricter

With cooler temperatures just around the corner, residents will be able to buy heating oil as of tomorrow but for the first time will be required to give sellers more of their personal details as the government continues its fight against illegal fuel trade. The Finance Ministry said in a circular distributed yesterday that customers who buy heating fuel as of tomorrow will be obligated to inform the seller of their personal details, including a tax number. Sellers, on the other hand, will be required to issue retail receipts for every sale made. It is the first time this system has been employed in Greece. The decision is part of the government’s effort to reduce Greece’s illegal fuel trade, which costs the state billions of euros in lost tax revenues. The tighter controls are aimed at preventing petrol providers from obtaining heating oil, which is taxed at a low rate and then mixing it with tax-heavy car fuel which is then sold to motorists as regular gasoline. A random check of a petrol distributor in Piraeus yesterday by the Special Investigation Service (SIS) found that the fuel provider, who had sold more than 35 million liters of car petrol between 2001-2003, had been supplied with fuel illegally. A check of the books showed that a fake company had been set up to help protect the distributor’s illegal source of diluted petrol. Other random checks by SIS employees also uncovered a cement company in Halkida that was filling all of its trucks with diluted fuel.