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Key Findings

This release contains data on fossil fuel subsidies in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumption of fossil fuels used for transport fell in 2020 due to the pandemic, resulting in a decrease in fossil fuel subsidies in 2020. 

Petrol taxed at €267 per tonne of carbon dioxide in 2020

Online ISSN: 2737-7334
CSO statistical publication, , 11am

Key Findings

  • In 2020, consumers of petrol paid an average effective rate of €267 per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted. 

  • The average effective carbon rate on autodiesel was €190 per tonne of carbon dioxide in 2020.

  • Carbon dioxide emissions from jet kerosene were charged at €0.09 per tonne due to the tax exemption for commercial aviation.

  • In 2020, total energy taxes on petrol were 63 cent per litre while total energy taxes on autodiesel were 51 cent per litre. 

  • Fossil fuel subsidies were estimated at €2.2 billion in 2020 compared with €2.8 billion in value in 2019. The decrease was mainly due to the reduction in the use of international aviation fuel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Direct fossil fuel subsidies accounted for 13% of total fossil fuel subsidies in 2020 while indirect subsidies arising from revenue foregone due to tax abatements accounted for 87%.

  • In 2020, €2.8 billion was raised in energy taxes, €0.4 billion was spent on environmental subsidies related to energy and emissions, and fossil fuel subsidies were €2.2 billion.

Statistician's Comment

Commenting on the release Clare O’Hara, Statistician in the Environment and Climate Division, said: “Total fossil fuel subsidies in 2020 were €2.2 billion. In 2019 total fossil fuel subsidies were €2.8 billion. The decrease from 2019 to 2020 was mainly due to the reduction in consumption of fossil fuels for transport, in particular aviation, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jet kerosene used for commercial aviation is exempt from excise and carbon taxes. Using the excise duty for heavy oil used for air navigation as a benchmark, the CSO estimates that the amount of revenue foregone in 2020 on jet kerosene due to the tax exemption was €234 million. This compares with €634 million in 2019, before the pandemic.

Using the petrol excise duty rate as a benchmark, we estimated the amount of revenue foregone on autodiesel in 2020 due to a lower excise duty rate as €338 million, compared with €400 million in 2019.

The average effective carbon rate of a fuel is defined as net energy tax receipts divided by total tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted through combustion of the fuel. The energy taxes included are Excise Duty, Carbon Tax, Electricity Tax, the National Oil Reserves Agency (NORA) Levy, the Public Service Obligation (PSO) Levy and emission permit purchases under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

We found that the highest average effective carbon rate per tonne of carbon dioxide in 2020 was €267 for petrol. The average effective carbon rate for autodiesel was 29% lower at €190 per tonne of carbon dioxide due to the lower excise duty rate applied to this fuel. The average effective carbon rate for marked gas oil, sometimes referred to as ‘green diesel’, used in agriculture, forestry and fishing was €40 per tonne of carbon dioxide.”

Fuel2020
Road - Petrol266.919
Road - Diesel189.812
Rail - Diesel49.5109
Jet Kerosene0.092
Aviation Gasoline186.655
Marine - Diesel8.02509750883602
Marine - Fuel Oil0
Electricity Generation6.97201497214745
Industry15.6596256358512
Services29.1187615341433
Agriculture and Fishing40.3301303071364
Household Heating27.1961349479694
Electricity Consumption30.9740722404496

Figure 1 shows a comparison of average effective carbon rates by sector in 2020. Average effective carbon rates by sector for 2000-2020 are provided in Tables 1A and 1B. The highest effective carbon rate in 2020 was on petrol. Differences in effective carbon rates in different sectors are mainly due to different excise rates applied to fossil fuels used for different purposes, e.g. transport or heating, and exemptions from energy taxes for specific uses such as commercial aviation and electricity generation.

Table 2 shows energy taxes per litre on selected fuels. In 2020, energy taxes on petrol were 63 cent per litre, of which 55 cent was excise duty (excluding carbon tax), 6 cent was carbon tax and 2 cent was the NORA Levy. 

YearFossil Fuel Subsidies (billion euro)WPI Energy Products 2015=100
20001.534759.825
20011.616459.7
20021.71563.4083333333333
20031.620867.3083333333333
20041.885672.1833333333333
20052.40782.375
20062.550489.3833333333333
20072.147797.5
20082.672105.575
20092.260998.4083333333333
20102.3687101.408333333333
20112.2902106.008333333333
20122.3291108.466666666667
20132.2854111.516666666667
20142.4318110.058333333333
20152.4416100
20162.372386.675
20172.531993.6083333333333
20182.798114.475
20192.80297.8916666666667
20202.153878.0666666666667

Fossil fuel subsidies were estimated at €2.2 billion in 2020 (see Figure 2 and Table 3). In 2000 - the first year of the series - total fossil fuel subsidies were estimated at €1.5 billion in value. This increased to €2.7 billion in 2008. Between 2009 and 2016 the value was estimated as between €2.2 billion and €2.5 billion. Total fossil fuel subsidies increased in value in 2017, 2018 and 2019, reaching €2.8 billion in 2019. In 2020 fossil fuel subsidies were €2.2 billion, with the reduction in transport fossil fuel consumption due to the COVID-19 pandemic accounting for the decrease.

The wholesale price index for energy products is shown alongside total fossil fuel subsidies in current prices in Figure 2.

YearDirect SubsidiesIndirect Subsidies
20000.0791.4557
20010.08121.5352
20020.10081.6142
20030.1491.4718
20040.18771.6979
20050.23162.1754
20060.2252.3254
20070.20011.9476
20080.22482.4472
20090.34851.9124
20100.35712.0116
20110.34081.9494
20120.38911.94
20130.39071.8947
20140.45571.9761
20150.39032.0513
20160.35192.0204
20170.35432.1776
20180.3052.493
20190.26412.5379
20200.28761.8662

Direct fossil fuel subsidies accounted for 13% of total fossil fuel subsidies in 2020 while indirect subsidies arising from revenue foregone due to tax abatements accounted for 87% (see Table 3). Figure 3 shows the value of direct and indirect fossil fuel subsidies from 2000-2020. Tables 4A, 4B, 5A and 5B provide a list of individual direct and indirect subsidies from 2000-2020.

Energy TaxesEnvironmental Subsidies (Energy and Emissions)Fossil Fuel Subsidies
20001.4913390.0004931.5347
20011.4357710.000756451.6164
20021.6740530.003353841.715
20031.7629090.013207731.6207
20042.0838330.023099481.8857
20052.2127240.02189972.407
20062.2471150.018159872.5504
20072.251110.051337022.1477
20082.2502130.056649312.672
20092.2672462990.058430382.261
20102.520488824999970.183719022.3687
20112.6919575960.16836672.2902
20122.6344051710.12186542.3292
20132.721340765594780.12805842.2854
20142.840196269999920.15014482.4318
20153.0428833240.21555712.4416
20163.135254591666670.29664482.3723
20173.258003580666670.41164352.5319
20183.176040886333330.55801462.798
20193.0152398450.39510952.802
20202.780572781666670.39732222.1538

Figure 4 shows a comparison of the amount raised in energy taxes with expenditure on fossil fuel subsidies and expenditure on environmental subsidies aimed at protecting the air and climate, and reducing fossil fuel use.

In 2020, €2.8 billion was raised in energy taxes, €0.4 billion was spent on environmental subsidies related to energy and air emissions, and fossil fuel subsidies were €2.2 billion.

Show Table: Table 1A Average Effective Carbon Rate by Sector, 2010-2020

Show Table: Table 1B Average Effective Carbon Rate by Sector, 2000-2009

Show Table: Table 2 Energy Taxes per Litre on Selected Fuels, 2020

Show Table: Table 3 Fossil Fuel Subsidies by Type, 2000-2020

Show Table: Table 4A Direct Fossil Fuel Subsidies, 2010-2020

Show Table: Table 4B Direct Fossil Fuel Subsidies, 2000-2009

Show Table: Table 5A Indirect Fossil Fuel Subsidies (Tax Expenditures), 2010-2020

Show Table: Table 5B Indirect Fossil Fuel Subsidies (Tax Expenditures), 2000-2009

Show Table: Table 6A Excise Fuel Volumes, 2010-2020

Show Table: Table 6B Excise Fuel Volumes, 2000-2009

Show Table: Table 7 Emission Factors and Conversion Factors by Fuel

Show Table: Table 8A Energy Tax Rates, 2010-2020

Show Table: Table 8B Energy Tax Rates, 2000-2009