Diesel prices at the pumps have been rising steadily.
On the wholesale markets, the Brent crude oil price has tripled from the record low this time last year of under $20 per barrel to around $60 per barrel currently. For the majority of us, we just have to grin and bear it.
In any event, with much less travel, consumption of auto diesel by most of us has reduced, thereby lessening the impact.
For farmers, the hit can come in increased costs for on-farm usage, agricultural contractor charges inflation, and additional haulage costs being priced into bulky raw materials. For road haulage transporters and bus operators, the hike in prices can put a real dent in profit margins.
However, there is some measure of relief, when prices escalate, through the Diesel Rebate Scheme (DRS).
The scheme applies to auto diesel (also called Derv), as it pays a tiered rebate amount to qualifying road transport operators and bus and coach operators, where diesel is used in qualifying motor vehicles.
The scheme is available to Irish and EU qualifying operators in respect of auto-diesel purchased in the State and used in qualifying vehicles for business transport.
Applications for repayments can be submitted quarterly via Revenue’s online ROS system.
The amount of rebate calculated in cents per litre depends on diesel prices as measured by the Central Statistics Office.
If diesel prices are below €1.23 per litre, no repayment is made, and a graduated repayment is made when national diesel prices, as measured by the CSO over the period of the claim, escalate, with a repayment of 7.5c per litre if prices reach €1.45 per litre.
Currently diesel prices in some forecourts are hovering around €1.35 per litre, inclusive of VAT, meaning a qualifying transport operator could be in line for a rebate of around 3.9c per litre, if these forecourt prices are reflected in the CSO figures for the month.
For a long distance truck driver, it is easy to rack up fuel usage of 200 litres in a return journey, and the rebate becomes more meaningful in that type or circumstance.
The scheme is only available to registered operators, that is, those with national or international haulage or passenger operator licences.
The operator or their agent must register for repayments under the scheme via ROS and must make a relevant claim for repayment.
Furthermore, all qualifying operators in the State must hold a current tax clearance certificate, and must hold a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) in either road transport operations management or bus passenger transport operations management.
Qualifying vehicles must be included on the road haulage operator’s licence, or the EU equivalent, and have a maximum permissible gross laden weight (GLW) of not less than 7.5 tonnes.
Smaller vehicles, including white vans, pickup vehicles, crew-cabs, and other diesel-powered vehicles, are not qualifying vehicles for the purposes of the Diesel Rebate Scheme, and the claim for rebate must be adjusted to take account of diesel used in such vehicles.
For bulk purchases of auto-diesel, a prescribed minimum amount of 2,000 litres or more in any one delivery will qualify for repayment.
The bulk purchase must be made from a mineral oil trader in the State who holds a current auto fuel trader’s licence.
Deliveries of less than 2,000 litres will not qualify.
Fuel purchased via a fuel card system (bought at a forecourt or distribution point) can also qualify, if the fuel is used in a qualifying vehicle and the fuel card operator is approved by Revenue.
The amount of information to be submitted in each claim is substantial, and includes: the relevant road transport operator’s licence number issued by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport; the transport manager’s CPC number; for each qualifying vehicle, the odometer readings at the start of and the end of the claim period; the total quantity (litres) of auto-diesel purchased; the total quantity (litres) of qualifying auto-diesel purchased; for bulk purchases of auto-diesel, the auto-diesel supplier’s auto fuel traders licence (AFTL) number; for bulk purchases of auto-diesel, the invoice number and delivery date in respect of each bulk supply; the total quantity (litres) of auto-diesel purchased by bulk; the total quantity (litres) of bulk purchased auto-diesel for which relief is claimed; the quantity (litres) of bulk purchased auto-diesel used in each qualifying vehicle.
At current prices the DRS scheme will benefit registered hauliers and, indirectly, this should help alleviate some pressure to pass on the full costs to farmers and other customers.
More information is available from Revenue’s website.
As always each person should obtain professional advice relevant to their own particular circumstances.