Energy Minister Ebba Busch called the measure “important, necessary, and long-awaited” at a press conference held alongside Oscar Sjöstedt, finance spokesperson for the far-right Sweden Democrats.
“We know that many families are having a tough time right now,” she said.
The government is proposing to cut the tax on petrol by 1.64 kronor per litre, and the price of diesel by 43 öre per litre in 2024, which, if an extra measure to cut tax on agricultural diesel is included, will cost a total of 6.5 billion kronor.
Sjöstedt said the amount that the price would actually change at the pump would depend on global fuel markets as well as government taxation.
“Of course, something can happen that can neutralise the impact of a tax reduction, but it could just as well have a boosting effect,” he said. “The difference is that that, all things being equal, the tax will be lower.”
In the run-up to last September’s election, the Moderate, Christian Democrat and Sweden Democrat parties all promised to cut the price of fuel at the pump quickly, with parties promising cuts of as much as 10 kronor per litre for diesel and 5 to 6 kronor per litre for petrol.
Sjöstedt defended the government’s failure to drive through cuts in the price of this magnitude.
“None of our parties got their own majority and that means that you can’t get 100 percent of your policies through, but have to compromise,” he said.
Fuel taxes are a key part of the arsenal governments have to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the transport sector and the current government’s decision to sharply reduce the biofuels obligation — the share of biofuels mixed in with petrol and diesel — is the main reason why Sweden is now on track to miss key emissions goals.
At the press conference, Busch said that she could not give any assessment on what impact the tax cuts she was announcing would have on emissions. “That’s a calculation we have not yet made,” she said.
However, in an analysis document released alongside the announcement, the government estimated that the change would increase emissions by about 350,000 tons in 2024 and 490,000 tons in 2025.