Tax and Regulatory Policies for European Transport – Getting There, But in the Slow Lane
33 Pages Posted: 26 May 2015
Date Written: May 2015
This paper surveys tax and regulatory policies for road transport in the EU. According to the economic literature, policy reforms are needed that substitute current fuel and vehicle taxes by car and truck user taxes that depend on place and time of use. The survey analyzes how policies have developed over the last 20 years, what was their motivation and what were the main effects. Two ideas stand out. First, external cost concepts have been successfully introduced in policy thinking, but they have mainly lead to quantitative climate, energy and modal split objectives. Achieving these objectives has guided member states into costly policy reforms that have neglected other objectives, such as the efficient use of the current road infrastructure. Second, distance charging for trucks is a policy innovation that is spreading rapidly, but it risks to be mainly used for tax exporting rather than for better internalizing external costs.
Keywords: Transport taxes, fuel taxes, road pricing, distance charging, transport policy in the EU, external costs
JEL Classification: R41, R48, Q58
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation