The customs department seized 150 litres of gasoline and 190 litres of diesel which were illegally imported from the north in March, department spokesman Christos Christou said on Wednesday.
According to Christou, seven such violations were uncovered at the crossing points of Ayios Dhometios and Astromeritis-Zodia during last month, and a total of €1,060 in fines were imposed. The seized fuel had been transported in cannisters.
The price of fuel is €0.75 to €0.80 in the north compared to €1.39 to €1.43 in the Republic. It was even cheaper in the north before February this year when prices were raised by €0.03 a litre.
It is not illegal to buy fuel outright, as the Green Line regulations don’t limit the amount of petrol you fill your car with, as long it is for your own use and not for commercial gain. The regulations were created to make the life of people living on both sides easier, and a person may be exempted from duties in certain cases.
Filling a car while going for a drive in the north would fall under this regulation, unless there is a change in the legislation, Christou explained.
“But the employer of a taxi company who sends the fleet over regularly to put petrol is not allowed to do that.”
To find out just how much petrol a person has bought is both difficult and costly.
“To do it right, the vehicle needs to be checked when it enters the north, and then a sample should be taken from the tank and sent to the state laboratory, and the same on the way back,” the customs official said. “It is time-consuming and difficult to investigate.”
Christou said the department was not aware of transport companies violating the regulations by importing the fuel in large amounts.
There are actually fewer issues with importing petrol than five or ten years ago, he added. In some vehicles problems due to the poor quality of the fuel have been reported, especially in larger vehicles and in modern cars which are particularly sensitive to fuel quality he said.