Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said he has no plans to equalise the excise duty on diesel and petrol in the forthcoming budget but described the idea as interesting.

Mr Noonan asked the Oireachtas Committee on Budgetary Oversight to advise him on the proposal.

The excise on petrol is currently 22% or €0.11 higher on petrol than it is on diesel.

The Government Tax Strategy Group's report says the Minister for Transport has requested the equalisation of the rates for climate policy reasons

This proposal was described by Mr Noonan this morning as a "big idea" but he said it would be a "big shock to the system."

Six civil society organisations, including the Asthma Society of Ireland and An Taisce, last week also called on the Government to use the budget to rebalance car sales away from diesel cars by committing to increasing the tax on the fuel every year for the next five years.