An upstream trading scheme is described that could operate alongside the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). In this proposed scheme, fossil fuel producers (or suppliers) surrender allowances for the carbon contained in their fuel sales. Since the administrative costs are relatively low, such a scheme could provide a simpler, cheaper and more practical alternative to personal carbon trading, ... [Show full abstract] while at the same time delivering comparable economic and environmental benefits. The incentive effect for downstream consumers would be similar to a carbon tax. However, instead of a fixed and visible tax rate, the carbon price would be variable and largely hidden within the price of fuel. Consideration is given to the distributional impacts of the scheme and the potential benefits of linking to the EU ETS - including improved liquidity, reduced price volatility and reduced scope for exercising market power. It is argued that an upstream scheme is likely to have greater political acceptability, while at the same time delivering comparable performance in terms of economic efficiency, environmental effectiveness and social equity.