Imposition of the CO2 levy on thermal fuels

The CO2 levy is imposed on all fossil thermal fuels (e.g. heating oil, natural gas). Since 2018 it has been set at CHF 96 per tonne of CO2. The CO2 levy is indicated on invoices for purchases of thermal fuels.

The CO2 levy is imposed on fossil thermal fuels (heating oil, natural gas) when they are used to generate heat, light or electricity. Wood and biomass are considered CO2-neutral and are not affected by the CO2 levy. Fossil motor fuels (petrol, diesel) are not affected by the CO2 levy.

Imposition and rate of the levy

The CO2 levy was introduced in 2008 because CO2 emissions from thermal fuels had not fallen sufficiently. It is due either at the border crossing or on the occasion of placing into circulation out of an approved registration tax-exempt warehouse. The CO2 levy is indicated 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 of CO2 this leads to a levy of about 25 cents per litre heating oil. Less CO2 is produced when natural gas is consumed, so the amount of the levy is lower.

Increase in the rate of the levy

The CO2 levy is only increased if CO2 emissions from thermal fuels do not fall sufficiently. In order to provide the economy and the population some planning and investment security, the increase steps linked to interim targets were defined in advance (see Art. 94 CO2 Ordinance). Because in 2013, 2015 and 2017 it was determined on the basis of the CO2 statistics for the previous years that the interim targets had not been met, the CO2 levy increased in each case at the beginning of the following year.

The lawful maximum rate of the levy of 120 Swiss francs per tonne of CO2 was not necessary until now. It will come into effect in 2022 at the earliest if emissions in 2020 fall by less than 33% below the base year 1990. Depending on the development of emissions, the levy rate may rise to 210 francs per tonne of CO2. This is what parliament decided with the total revision of the CO2 Act, which will enter into force in 2022 at the earliest.

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Last modification 01.02.2021

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