U.S. forces customs officials crack down on Germany fuel card abuse

By Robert Szostek
U.S. Army Europe Office of the Provost Marshal

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service fuel card makes it easy for U.S. forces personnel to fill their vehicles with tax-free fuel in Germany. U.S. Army Europe Office of the Provost Marshal officials say the system’s automated features also make it simple for customs investigators to track suspicious transactions.

“Since the use of the fuel card began, customs investigators have identified several fuel card violators,” said Fred Evans, chief of Customs Services and Investigations at the USAREUR OPM.

Using the fuel card database, investigators receive reports on several types of violations, and can see who is pumping fuel, when and where.

Officials described one recent case involving an American who for years was selling gasoline purchased with the fuel card to friends who were not authorized to buy tax-free fuel. German customs officials fined the man €22,000 (more than $28,000) and ordered him to pay €37,000 (more than $47,000) in unpaid taxes.

“In an effort to protect duty and tax-free gas privileges, U.S. Forces Customs is strictly enforcing compliance,” Evans went on. “We will identify each and every violator and take the necessary action to prevent abuse.”

More information on the fuel card system is available on the AAFES website at www.shopmyexchange.com/ExchangeStores/GermanyFuelRation/.