Imposition of the CO2 levy on fuels

The CO2 levy is imposed on all fossil heating and process fuels (e.g., heating oil, natural gas). As of 2018, it is CHF 96 per tonne CO2. The CO2 levy is indicated on invoices for purchases of thermal fuels.

The CO2 levy is imposed on fossil heating and process fuels (heating oil, natural gas, coal, petroleum coke and so on) when they are used to produce heat, to generate light, in thermal installations for the production of electricity or for the operation of heat-power cogeneration plants.

No levy is imposed on wood and biomass because these energy sources are CO2-neutral: the amount of CO2 released during combustion is equal to the CO2 absorbed during their growth or formation.

Motor fuels (petrol, diesel) are not affected by the CO2 levy.

Collection and rate of the levy

The CO2 levy, introduced in 2008 in response to the low level of CO2 emission reduction in the thermal fuel sector, is collected by the Federal Customs Administration, either at the border crossing or on the occasion of placing into circulation out of an approved registration tax-exempt warehouse. The levy is based on invoices for purchases of thermal fuels.

Depending on the carbon content of an energy source, more or less CO2 is released during its combustion. The carbon content thus determines the amount of the CO2 levy for each energy source.

Example: the combustion of one litre of heating oil results in 2.65 kg CO2. At a levy rate of CHF 96 per tonne CO2 this leads to a levy of about 25 cents per litre heating oil. The amount of the CO2 levy for households and companies directly depends on the energy sources used.

Increase in the rate of the levy

In order to provide the economy and the population some planning and investment security, the interim targets and the rates of the levy were defined in advance on the basis of a reduction path for thermal fuels (see Art. 94 CO2 Ordinance). Whether the reduction path had been fulfilled was reviewed in 2013, 2015 and 2017 by means of the CO2 statistics for the previous year. Because interim targets were surpassed, an increase in the CO2 levy was triggered as of the following year respectively.

An increase to CHF 96 per tonne CO2 as of 1 January 2018 is the last step according to the CO2 legislation in place still 2020. It was necessary because CO2 emissions from thermal fuels in 2016 exceeded the required 73% of the 1990 base year. On the other hand, the interim target of 76%, which would have triggered an increase to the lawful maximum rate of CHF 120 per tonne CO2, was met.

Further information

Last modification 13.12.2019

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