Driver Tax

December 1st, 2006

It is hardly surprising to me that a report on how to tax driving written by an ex-chairman of British Airways favours ‘road pricing’ over a system based on fuel taxation. I’ve mentioned my views on fuel tax before (in the comments here)

[…] If fuel duties could be determined at regional level it would have a greater impact on congestion/road usage, it would also get rid of the complaints of rural users being disproportionately affected if Birmingham could increase fuel duty without affecting rural Warwickshire. And you wouldn’t need a network of electricity gobbling cameras […]

(I obviously don’t trust a centrally levied and collected tax to be used effectively)

In any case a report from a person who has been successful in an industry that enjoys minimal taxation is hardly likely to want to promote it anywhere else. I’m not pro-taxation per se, however ‘road pricing’ will have exactly the same economic effect as fuel taxation but be more costly to run, more intrusive to the driver (as it will depend on mass surveillance infrastructure), not easily linked to the actual performance of drivers and their cars, etc.

With fuel tax as high as it is anyway, there would obviously be no appetite for a higher rate (which is no doubt why Rod Eddington was appointed to return this sort of report) when the government is so obviously failing to spend such tax money effectively on transport infrastructure.

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