A table of motoring taxes across Europe names the UK as the fourth highest
5 January 2016

British motorists contributed £46.6 billion in taxes to the Treasury in 2012, or nearly 8% of all the tax collected by the government that year.

These figures — the most up to date available — have been released by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).

Using figures from the 14 EU countries that break out motoring taxes as separate statistics, including Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, France and the UK, the total raised from motoring taxes was £284bn (€396bn).

The UK’s motoring-derived tax take was almost exactly the same as government defence spending, which came in at £46.4bn in 2012 and was just under half of what was spent on education.

According to the detailed breakdown, the largest amount of tax raised from UK motorists was from the sale of fuels and lubricants, adding up to £26bn. After that, it was VAT on vehicle sales, servicing, repair, parts and tyres, totalling £12.5bn. Annual ownership taxes came in at £5.8bn and “other taxes” at £1.5bn.

UK drivers were not the biggest contributors to their national government’s coffers. Germany’s drivers contributed some €80bn (£57bn) in 2012. This was followed by Italy’s drivers, who contributed €70.5bn (£50.6bn) in 2013 and the French, at €69.5bn (£54.3bn), also in 2013.

Dividing the UK’s £46.6bn motoring tax take by the UK’s 63.7 million population in 2012 shows a contribution of just £731 per head. Sweden’s drivers contributed €9.6bn in 2012 in motoring taxes, despite being a country of just 9.7 million people. But although the Scandinavian countries are noted for high taxes, that works out at just €989 (£710) per head.

Spanish drivers pay notably lower levels of motoring taxes per head of population than the European average. With a motoring taxes contribution of €24.4bn (£17.5bn) in 2011 and a population of 47.3 million, Spanish people paid motoring taxes of just £369 per head.

Join the debate


5 January 2016

As the UK is the third biggest country by population of those fourteen, the news that it takes the fourth largest amount of motoring tax hardly seems newsworthy.

You have broken it down into tax per head for one or two countries, but if you do the full table you get:

Belgium: €1,528

Austria: €1,510

Finland: €1,443

Italy: €1,156

Ireland: €1,145

France: €1,036

Netherlands: €1,057

Denmark: €1005

UK: €995

Germany: €984

Sweden: €978

Spain: €527

Greece: €492

Oh look, the UK is now in the bottom five! More informatively, the UK along with most countries charge/spend a thousand euros per head, with a few exceptions being 50% less or 50% more.

5 January 2016

Thanks Endless. That explains the story far more accurately and was what I was waiting to see the article say. By all means give us a headline but lets see some balance to the reporting otherwise it brings into question the credibility of other 'news'.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lamborghini Aventador S
    First Drive
    21 January 2017
    Is an upgrade to 730bhp and the addition of four-wheel steering enough to realise the Aventador's potential?
  • Ford Focus RS Mountune FPM375
    First Drive
    20 January 2017
    Does an official Mountune upgrade of 25bhp and 30lb ft, improve the already rampant and rather magnificent Ford Focus RS?
  • Audi S5 Sportback
    First Drive
    19 January 2017
    The Audi S5 Sportback is more bruising GT than practical sports car, but it makes sense for those wanting a fast executive saloon in coupé get-up
  • First Drive
    18 January 2017
    Despite receiving a cosmetic and mechanical refresh, Lexus's compact executive saloon still fails to provide much driving involvement
  • 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 5h review
    First Drive
    18 January 2017
    Big-selling plug-in SUV gets a light refresh in the face of new challengers to offer decent economy but only average driving dynamics