Greece plans to fight tax evasion and ease tourist travel through reform of its petrol stations, officials said on Thursday, in the latest attempt to bring its large deficit in line with EU rules.

Petrol station owners will be obliged to operate cash registers with automatic receipts as of January 1, 2010.

The Greek Government has said there is significant tax evasion in Greece’s retail fuel market and that the introduction of the new cash registers will provide a significant boost to tax revenues.

“This system can track tax evasion,” Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis told a news conference.

The Greek Government has also approved the installation of 24-hour automatic fuel vending machines by petrol stations.

 “This measure is absolutely necessary, it has to be implemented, both for Greeks and for tourists,” Hatzidakis said.

The 24 hour vending machines will allow travellers – both local and international – to be able to fill up their tanks at night.

Independent petrol station owners, who account for the bulk of business in Greece, have staged strikes to oppose similar plans.

They argue this would increase their costs and benefit big petrol station chains.