Progress in charge structure and internalisation policies
Assessment made on 01 Oct 2005
ClassificationTransport (Primary theme)
- TERM 026
Policy issue: Recover the full costs of transport including externalities from users
Progress in restructuring transport charges towards better internalisation of external costs is slow. Important developments are the introduction of urban charging schemes and distance related charging schemes on motorways. Charge differentiation concentrates mainly on air pollution in the road freight sector, noise in the aviation sector and CO2 emissions of passenger cars. In general, few measures have yet been taken to internalise costs of CO2 emissions, rail and road noise and congestion.
Given the importance of differentiation of transport charges and taxes on the basis of environmental impact, the indicator gives a qualitative overview of the adaptation of price structures in transport towards environmental characteristics. The fact sheet on fuel prices and taxes (TERM 2003 22 EU - Progress in charges) sketches the development of use-dependent transport charge levels.
Due to incomplete information, the required level of transport taxes and charges under a fair pricing regime is hard to establish. Moreover, it depends on local and temporal circumstances. Some differentiation of taxes charged is currently done, concentrating mainly on air pollution in the road freight sector, tax reductions for fuel efficient and hybrid passenger cars, noise in the aviation sector and scarcity in rail infrastructure charges. Very few measures have yet been taken to internalise costs of congestion on the road, rail and road noise (some aviation and rail charges, and some urban parking fees are exceptions as regards congestion (1)) and climate change and air pollution cost in aviation. In most urban areas, the internalisation of external costs is still far from complete.
Countries that most frequently apply environmentally differentiated taxing and charging schemes (leaving aside fuel taxation) are United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy. Iceland, Liechtenstein, Malta, Estonia and the Slovak Republic are without any scheme, as far as the available information reaches.
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