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|Government disregards opposition to biofuel tax|
| Prime Minster Jens Stoltenberg and his Labour Party has disregarded opposition from coalition partners as well as condemnation from the opposition parties, and it is now clear that biodiesel will no longer be exempt from road tax. Biodiesel, an environmentally friendly fuel, has for this reason been excempt from the road tax, but the Labour Party now says biodiesel must be taxed on level with other fuels. This tax is today NOK 3.40, and if added, this will make biodiesel more expensive than ordinary diesel fuel.|
This has angered truck owners and transport companies, many of whom have switched to vehicles that favour biodiesel.
One Norwegian company that broduces biodiesel has already laid off their 100 employees.
Head of the environmental organisation Bellona, Frederic Hauge, calls the government turnaround "shameful for Norway", and says it will stigmatise Norway at the upcoming UN climate summit in Copenhagen.
One argument from the Labour-led government is that the raw material for present biodiesel comes from agricultural products, such as rapeseed, thus reducing the production of food grains in the world.
The two government coalition partners, Socialist Left and Agrarians, have been opposed to the new tax, but it now appears that they have accepted the Labour Party's stand.
The Government announced Wednesday that they will now instead grant NOK 40 million to start the development of so-called second generation biofuel based on waste from Norwegian forests as well as other waste materials.
This, however, does not stop the criticism. This does not justify the new tax. It is just another way for the Government to tax consumers, the critics say.