Customs to halt tax-free fuel sales at border

| Monday, December 03, 2001

The U.S. Customs service has moved to shut down tax-free fuel sales at U.S. borders. Duty-free shops will no longer be allowed to undercut their competitors by selling the lower-priced fuel.

Since August 2000, a millionaire who owns the busiest border crossing in the United States has sold diesel and gasoline without collecting federal taxes, forcing at least one nearby truckstop out of business and leaving other retailers fighting to survive, according to NATSO, a group representing U.S. truckstops and travel plazas. The Ambassador Bridge duty-free shop has undercut competing fuel stations by as much as 15 cents per gallon.

U.S. Customs announced last month it would revoke a Detroit Port Director letter sent to Ambassador Bridge Owner Ammex Inc. in September 2000, which allowed the firm to expand its duty-free operations to include diesel and gasoline.

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