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EU unveils distance-based road charging plan for all vehicles

Apr 21, 2015
Plans to develop a Europe-wide road-charging scheme have been unveiled by EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bluc.

In the proposal, the charging of cars and lorries for road use based on distance driven would be optional, allowing Member States to not participate if they did not wish to.

The aim is to promote more efficient use of roads through a pan-European road charging scheme by providing common rules and removing technical barriers, which will lower costs and facilitate its introduction. Commissioner Bluc has stated that charges should be “exclusively based on the number of kilometres actually driven and should not be time-dependent”.

At present EU countries have many different schemes for road tolls. In France, Spain and Italy, highways have tolls (péages), while some others have time-based charges (vignettes) for cars and lorries. Germany, Poland and Austria have kilometre-based charges for lorries but not for cars and other passenger vehicles.

The announcement also comes as Germany is preparing to charge all vehicles (a charging system for lorries is already in place) for the use of its autobahns, although German citizens would be able to deduct these costs from their annual car tax. The European Commission is understood to be concerned at the proposal, which would discriminate against foreign drivers.

The idea for a system based on common rules is also linked to the need for compatibility of all the different technical systems at present in place and being developed, discussions on which have been ongoing for some years.

Photo: Violeta Bulc

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