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    Duty-Free Shop Resumes Tax-Free Fuel

    Move prompts National Association of Truck Stop Operators' call for federal action.

    DETROIT -- In the continuing battle over duty-free fuel sales, the Ammex Duty-Free Shop on the Detroit side of the Ambassador Bridge has resumed the sale of duty-free fuel after a court ruling had prohibited such sales.

    The National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO) reported yesterday that the operator, Manuel Moroun, was discounting diesel at $1.25 per gallon with a minimum 25-gallon purchase and four coupons. "This is 16 cents lower than a nearby competitor," NATSO said, adding it had contacted the U.S. Customs Service.

    NATSO's findings are the latest in this on-again, off-again tax-free fuel ordeal. NATSO has been eyeballing legislation to bar duty-free fuel sales since summer 2000 when Moroun won a court battle that allowed him to sell gasoline and diesel tax-free at his duty-free shop located at the most widely used corridor connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario. The court ruling had freed Moroun to sell at 15 to 20 cents below street price on the corridor that carries 10 million vehicles a year.

    But late last year, the Customs Service issued a regulation that prevented the duty-free location from selling fuel without collecting the federal excise tax. Since then, NATSO has sought federal legislation to reinforce the regulation.

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