OPEC Official Criticizes European Governments Over Fuel Taxes

September 20, 2000

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An OPEC official blasted European governments Wednesday for imposing heavy taxes on oil products, saying they should be blamed for high fuel prices, not OPEC.

According to the Agence France Presse, Secretary General Rilwanu Lukman told a petroleum meeting that the high prices have "sparked a wave of protests from consumers around the globe, many of whom wrongly blame OPEC for the inflated petrol prices and heating costs they are now having to pay."
"This is an unfair accusation," he added, "since the reasons behind the recent oil price hikes do not fall solely at the [OPEC's] door."
Lukman went on to say that one of the reasons why European truckers and motorists are so livid about fuel prices is "due to the exorbitant level of taxation placed on petroleum products by regional governments, some as high as 80 percent of the pump price."
Lukman called protests by truck drivers against their governments in France, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Spain "a major breakthrough for OPEC" because they were directed not at the producers, but at their governments.

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