The UK Government wants to introduce a pay-per-mile system for lorries in order to reduce traffic on Britain’s roads.
The system, proposed by the Department for Transport, would charge vehicles depending on their emissions.
Money raised from the levy would help fund road maintenance and repairs, which cost about £120 million per year.
The charge would also help offset a predicted reduction in fuel duty raised by the Treasury as sales of hybrid and electric car sales take off. Last year, £27.5 billion was raised from 57.95p per litre of diesel or petrol, but a 31% decline in diesel vehicle sales is slowing the new car market for combustion engine cars. Conversely, sales of alternatively fuelled cars have surged by a third in recent months.
The pay-per-mile proposal comes following complaints from British hauliers that they are unfairly hit by the UK’s fuel duty, which is higher than that of most European neighbours. Foreign lorries using Britain’s roads can fuel up abroad with lower rates, allowing them to use the UK network without directly contributing to its maintenance.
Such a system was considered for cars by the last Labour government, with former transport secretary Alistair Darling proposing a £1 per mile charge in a 2004 report. However, the plan was shelved following public backlash.
Current transport secretary Chris Grayling recently told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that there was no concrete plan to introduce a pay-per-mile system for cars. He said: “Lots of people [are arguing] for this and a lot of people think it’s the right thing to do, [but] we are not preparing that as an alternative route to funding our roads or to bringing in tax.