[ASIA] Hong Kong govt plans to scrap fuel tax for public transport

Hong Kong's government announced on Monday a plan to waive fuel taxes for public and commercial transport, following days of demonstrations by truck and bus drivers over surging oil prices.

The authorities hoped to get an approval from the legislature on scrapping taxes on Euro-five diesel by the end of next month, secretary for transport Eva Cheng told the city's lawmakers Monday. The environmentally friendly Euro-five is used by public transport vehicles such as buses, taxis and trucks.

"Our decision is based on the principle of fairness. At present, all fuel taxes for sea and air commercial transport have been waived," she said.

But there would be no change to the levies on the more polluting ultra-low sulphur diesel or petrol, commonly used in private cars, she said.

Prices for petrol, at about 2 US dollars a litre, were generally higher than Euro-five diesel to encourage people to use public transport, a government spokesman told AFP. Mirroring the action of their European counterparts, Hong Kong drivers staged marches and slow-drive protests earlier this month as their earnings were substantially reduced by surging oil prices.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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