After years of Westminster chatter, it appears as though road pricing is gaining favour among senior government figures as a means to bridge the taxation chasm set to be caused by the expected ban of new combustion-engined vehicle sales from 2030, according to a report in The Times.
However, there is set to be a proposed ban on new petrol and diesel cars as soon as 2030 as part of efforts to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The resultant loss on fuel duty and VED is expected to be about £40bn.
Zero-emission vehicles, using electricity or hydrogen fuel cells, are welcome news for the environment, but a forecasted sharp decline in petrol and diesel fuel sales would hit the country's coffers hard.
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The motoring organisation's president, Edmund King, said: "The government can't afford to lose £40bn from fuel duty and auto tax when the electric revolution arrives".
"It is always assumed that road pricing would be the solution but that has been raised every five years since 1964 and is still perceived by most as a "poll tax on wheels".
"Combined with commercialising the roads with an adopt a highway scheme with naming rights such as the Minecraft M1, Manchester Utd M6 or Adidas A1, this should be prove a more popular solution", King added.
The scheme would overhaul the current road system. According to the organisation, these provide a cost-effective way of delivering targeted transport behaviour change.
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RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: "While not paying auto tax is clearly an incentive to go fully electric at the moment, we will very soon need a system that can levy tax on both conventionally fuelled and battery electric vehicles fairly".
"The UK now only has one major toll road â€" the M6 Toll in the West Midlands â€" and drivers also face levies when using certain tunnels and bridges.
Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance at the comparison site, said: "It is essential that the Government think carefully about how this rumoured road pricing scheme is implemented to protect these under-pressure groups as they struggle to cover the existing costs, let alone a further tax".
"Public transport infrastructure in rural communities is near non-existent, with millions exclusively relying on their private vehicles to travel". Whether any road pricing measures would contain a degree of ringfencing to allocate funds for reparations is up for discussion, but is unlikely given that presently VED and fuel duty are not used for this objective. This method of taxation has already been rejected by the British public in 2007 when proposed by the Labour government, so it is startling to see that these proposals are even being considered.
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