The National Farmers Union says farmers should be able to buy their excise tax-free diesel at retail pumps and receive an 11.5-cent-per-litre rebate later.
The NFU made the request in a letter to Agriculture Minister Rosann Wowchuk.
Wowchuk was hesitant to comment on the request last week having not yet received the letter. “But the first thing I think of is how do you designate it (uncoloured retail fuel) as farm fuel, (which is dyed purple)?” she said.
Coloured fuel, designated for farm use only, is excise tax exempt. The purple col-our makes it easy for police to check non-farm vehicles to see if they are illegally burning farm fuel. Some of the uncoloured fuel farmers purchased could end up being used for purposes other than farming and there would be no way to know.
During an informal survey last month the NFU said it found retail diesel fuel prices in Winnipeg and Portage la Prairie between 70 and 81.9 cents a litre. Meanwhile, bulk coloured fuel, with the excise tax removed, was 64.88 cents and 71.6 cents a litre.
“If the 11.5-cents-per-litre deduction was incorporated into the retail fuel price for diesel, those prices would be in the range between 58.5 cents per litre and 70.4 cents per litre,” Manitoba NFU co-ordinator Fred Tait said in a news release. “That’s a big discrepancy.”
Tait said a difference of a few cents a litre for diesel fuel translates into thousands of dollars in increased input costs for farmers. He is urging the provincial government to implement a mechanism to allow farmers to “shop around” for the lowest-cost diesel fuel in their market [email protected]