The Revenue Commissioners have taken samples from a number of filling stations that it has claimed may have been involved in recent ‘petrol stretching’ scams, according to the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan.

Minister Noonan said that Revenue has made great progress in tackling the problem of diesel laundering over the past three years and now media reports indicate the emergence of another form of fuel fraud, commonly referred to as petrol-stretching.

The scam involves the illegal addition of kerosene or some other low tax commodity to petrol to defraud the Exchequer and the motorist.

The Minister outlined that Petrol stretching is an offence under S102(1A) Finance Act 1999 and carries a penalty on summary conviction of €5,000 or, at the discretion of the court to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or both. If convicted on indictment the fine is to a maximum of €126,970 and the prison term is to a maximum of five years or both.

He said: “Motorists themselves should take care about where they source their petrol from, and report any suspicions concerning the source of adulterated petrol that may have damaged their engines to Revenue.

“Revenue will investigate such reports and pursue prosecutions against offenders where possible. In that regard, Revenue has recently launched a dedicated section of its website specifically on the shadow economy and this includes an electronic reporting facility for anyone who has information about shadow economy practices such as petrol stretching.”