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'It's a crock': Italians outraged at 25-cent fuel discount

The Local Italy
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'It's a crock': Italians outraged at 25-cent fuel discount
A picture taken in Rome earlier this month shows a board displaying the fuel price at a gas station, as refueling has become more expansive as a result of the war in Ukraine. (Photo by ALBERTO Pizzoli / AFP)

Italy cut fuel duties - and therefore the price at the pump - on Wednesday in response to soaring costs. But drivers and petrol station operators are far from impressed with the move.

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Italy has cut fuel duty in a move aimed at bringing the cost back down below two euros a litre, after prices soared to record highs in March due to the war in Ukraine.

But motorists and gas station operators were not satisfied with the cut, which amounts to a 25-cent discount for one month only.

This is a reduction in excise duty (a tax on the production and consumption of goods) on petrol and diesel. After adding VAT at 22 percent, the total discount to the consumer is 30.5 cents per litre.

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The reduction came as part of a package of measures approved by the government on Friday, worth 4.4 billion euros, which Prime Minister Mario Draghi said would be "financed not by the public purse but by companies in the energy sector".

READ ALSO: ‘The impact is zero’: Energy giants not worried by Italy’s tax on profits

But the government's response was not welcomed at the pumps on Wednesday, with may left unimpressed by both the size of the discount and the length of the validity.

"I feel a bit fooled. In 30 days it will be over and everything will be as it was before, so what has changed?" Italian citizen Marco Morbidelli from Pesaro told newspaper Il Resto del Carlino.

"It's a crock," he said.

Petrol station operatives are also dissatisfied with the plan, arguing that it doesn't help them run their business.

Alessandro Bailetti, a manager of a petrol station, said, "The state has lowered the cost of excise duties, but we have paid for our fuel by paying them too. Who will give us back these 30 cents that they have taken away? They say there will be a contribution - we hope so, even if we still don't know when and how."

Even with the cut to fuel cost, some Italians say that prices at the pump are still very high.

Motorist Daniele Luzi told the paper, "The state should not allow these increases and, above all, should examine its conscience about everything it makes us pay, because it is inappropriate."

READ ALSO: How to save money on your fuel in Italy

The measures come after Italian industry and consumer groups urged the government to slash VAT and excise duty to keep the country moving after businesses, including Italy's hauliers, said they couldn't afford to operate.

Last week, Italian consumer watchdog Codacons revealed that the price of petrol had risen by 39 percent in a year in Italy, and diesel prices have risen by 51 percent.

Codacons said taxation was at 55.3 percent on every litre of petrol and 51.8 percent on diesel.

According to industry group Confindustria, the surge in fuel prices means the Italian state is "taking higher tax revenues thanks to the VAT paid on fuel prices.”

In the last week alone, the extra revenue gained [from VAT] is up by approximately 45 million euros compared to in the second week of February, the group said.

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