Historian reveals: – The true story of the “diesel privilege”

The better tax position for diesel (“diesel privilege”) does not have its origins in the stimulation of the agricultural and transport industries in the 1960s. The Tyrolean historian Wolfgang Meixner discovered astonishing reasons in much older sources.

How long has the “diesel privilege”, ie the tax advantage over petrol of 8.5 cents, been discussed? And the discourse continues because this improved position has not been eliminated by the current tax reform. Also that about the history of its origins.

It is widely believed that the “diesel privilege” was introduced in the 1960s to give the rebuilding phase of agriculture and the transport industry an advantage. Wolfgang Meixner, historian at the University of Innsbruck, refutes this assumption. The actual origin was revealed in the course of the archive work as part of his habilitation.

Delivery to Russians should be prevented
“In 1949 the Austrian National Council decided for the first time a different level of mineral oil tax for diesel and gasoline, namely diesel with 10 and gasoline with 26 Schilling for 100 kg dead weight of the fuel,” says Meixner, Federal roads decided. For diesel 20 schillings, for petrol 52 schillings. “

From the explanatory remarks on the laws, the real reason for the “diesel privilege” can be seen: The oil produced in the Zistersdorf oil fields only had a low yield of gasoline, but it was, on the other hand, very good for diesel oil. In order to prevent the delivery of the extracted crude oil to the Soviet occupying power, the government came up with the idea of ​​promoting the construction of diesel vehicles and diesel stationary engines and thus securing the sale of domestic diesel. Petroleum, often used by the population for cooking, should also become cheaper.

Countries benefited from tax
“A second aspect,” Meixner continued, “was to allocate the federal states a high share of the income from this tax in order to make it easier for them to carry the road load.” Of course, agriculture and the transport industry had benefited, but this was not the real reason for the different taxation been.

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