Viable way to close £ 30bn fuel hole as UK turns to electric cars

The UK’s ambitious plan to end sales of gasoline and diesel cars and vans by the end of the decade has rightly garnered applause at home and abroad.

Transport emissions are the largest component of our territorial carbon footprint; a big move to ban the sale of dirty vehicles will see this change quickly.

One question the move raises, however, is how to close the annual hole of over £ 30bn in the state’s balance sheet as a duty on fuel – currently levied at 58p on every liter of fuel. gasoline and diesel – and excise duties on vehicles fall to zero.

The clearer alternative is road pricing, a system in which every mile of every trip can be billed differently, instead of a system in which costs depend on how much fuel your car consumes.

Road pricing offers the opportunity to fundamentally rebalance one of the UK’s main tax bases in a more equitable way, as well as accelerate progress towards net zero.

Location, congestion, time and type of vehicle could all be factors in the cost of each mile, allowing small cars in cities with poor public transport to pay significantly less than the Range Rovers that drive through. Chelsea during rush hour.

Road pricing could also open up new ways of controlling traffic, preventing crowds of idling cars outside school gates or residential roads from turning into rats.

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It could also be phased in on a household-to-household basis, offering reduced fares or even ‘free miles’ to families who could benefit from tax relief, while bringing the better-off in Britain to a lifestyle that means less. congestion for everyone.

Answering this big question will have an obvious effect on the daily life of almost everyone in the country. The price of gasoline is a big factor in household budgets, and any new technology-based system can impact the “freedom” that car travel brings.

This is why it is essential to get it right, both in terms of the political response but also, crucially, the timing.

Anticipating the problem can ensure that the two main risks of road pricing, fairness and confidentiality, are at the heart of any new policy.

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A well-tailored program will reduce the overall costs of running cars for low-income households, especially in areas with poor public transport options, at the expense of downtown school trips or new non-electric company cars. , ensuring that costs fall for the less well-off and rise for those who can afford them.

The Net Zero Cost Climate Change Committee estimates see falling auto costs as the primary way to offset the costs of greening our homes and industry, a road toll system would be a first step to ensure that these savings are distributed beyond the few people who time the most kilometers.

With respect to confidentiality, the most important benefits of road pricing will come from the ability to tailor costs in the most efficient manner.

Safer roads, less traffic, cleaner air, and a fairer tax system are all on offer, but will require some degree of keeping tabs on when and where cars are driven.

It is a challenge far from insurmountable. The adoption of on-board trackers offered to young drivers in exchange for lower premiums should inspire confidence in decision-makers; make the benefits clear and adoption will be high.

Additionally, any startup issues could be quickly resolved through a pilot program on door-to-door deliveries, which proliferated during the pandemic. This would both fight against the congestion caused by this army of vans, but also provide a test bed for new technologies.

This is not a distant question. Current forecasts show that pollution taxes will start to fall as early as 2023, with an annual deficit of £ 13 billion by the end of this decade.

An additional rush comes from what is actually happening on the streets of the country – in 2021 to date 15% of all cars sold in the UK can be plugged in – well above expectations inside and out. outside government. It is increasingly clear that a decision is needed before the next election.

Recent progress on auto taxes, most emphatically highlighted by the 11-year freeze on fuel taxes which analysts say has increased the Kingdom’s annual carbon emissions by 5% – United, do not inspire confidence in the imminent solution.

However, with the government looking to kick off the post-pandemic era with a multi-year spending plan this fall, and against the backdrop of the big decarbonization plans and COP26 in November, there’s no better time to facing one of the biggest decisions it takes to reach net zero.

About Leah Albert

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