The Tax Strategy Group paper on Climate Action and Tax contains a range of suggestions for tax increases on energy.

But it also warns that price falls will see the Government collect less tax from the sector in 2020, despite last year's increase in the carbon tax.

It also lays out the impact of the anticipated increases in carbon tax contained in the Programme for Government. 

The paper says that Government revenue from home heating oil has gone down in the year to July because of significant falls in the price of the product.

It says despite a rise in the carbon tax, the price of home heating oil was down 41.8% in May compared to a year ago and that consequently the overall tax content on the product has fallen. 

Equalising excise rates on petrol and diesel over a five year period remains a 'valid option' for government to consider, it states.

This would translate into a 2.32c per litre increase in excise on diesel for the next five years. The change would raise €11m in 2020 and €78m in a full year. 

It also outlines a scheme to rejig the diesel rebate scheme for hauliers which it describes as a fossil fuel subsidy.

It points out that its improvement in last year's Budget was intended as a temporary support during Brexit and that the haulage industry has benefited since from low diesel prices. 

The paper also suggests that broadening electricity taxes to include households may help offset the expected losses from taxes on fossil fuels due to carbon reduction policies. 

Electricity taxes are only currently levied at very low rates on business users.

The paper points out that just €2.5m is collected compared to €3.114bn from excise and VAT on mineral oils.

The paper also points out that just 0.7% of customers described as 'large businesses' account for 58% of the electricity used. It also points out that wholesale electricity prices were down 40% in June compared to a year ago. 

On the carbon tax, the paper notes that the Programme for Government has committed to achieving a rate of €100 per tonne by 2030.

This involves an annual increase of €7.50 per tonne from next year. This would add about 1.5c to the price of a litre of diesel or €6.58 on a 60 litre fill. It would add €86.52 to a 900 litre fill of kerosene home heating oil.  

The Government had expected to collect €543m in carbon tax in 2020 but given price falls and the fall off in demand during the lockdown, it now expects to collect €455m. 

The paper takes a sceptical view of car scrappage schemes.

It says the 'notion of continually replacing cars for those of moderately lower emissions' is unlikely to reduce CO2 when measured over the lifecycle of a car.

It makes a particular note of the increase of less efficient SUV's in the new car fleet and heavier new passenger cars overall. 

It also suggests that VRT rates applied in Ireland in the past were probably too low given the revelations about 'vastly underestimated' CO2 emissions in cars.  

It recommends a new VRT charging scheme to 'level the playing field' between different emissions tests.