New car tax rules in England are 'radical' and drivers 'oppose' them

New pay-per-mile car tax rules in England have come under fire with people "opposing" the radical new system. The Environmental Transport Association (ETA) has warned there is an “increasing acknowledgement” that a new system in the UK is necessary.

They explained: “Despite an increasing acknowledgement across political lines of the need for road pricing to address congestion, and tax-loss following widespread electric vehicle (EV) adoption, politicians are petrified to discuss – let alone endorse it.

“Road pricing is increasingly seen as an unavoidable policy in light of an evolving transport landscape. After all, it promises to help reduce fuel duty, ensure drivers pay their share, help fund public transport and tackle congestion.”

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They stressed previous attempts to introduce road pricing schemes have been met with “intense opposition from the public and media”. They added: “Motoring is heavily subsidised – the external costs outweigh any revenue from fuel duty.

“However, this doesn’t stop the fallacy that motorists are cash cows for the exchequer. Politicians, acutely aware of this sentiment (and seemingly incapable of setting out the facts) are cautious about advocating for policies that could be perceived as punitive or regressive.”

“The political landscape in the UK is heavily influenced by populist pressures and the need for politicians to maintain public approval. Advocacy for road pricing carries substantial political risks.” Michael Dnes, the head of future roads technology at the Department for Transport, called for ministers to consider a controversial “per-mile” tax on drivers to ensure “electric motorists keep paying their share”.

Mr Dnes wrote: “The obvious answer is to find another tax so electric motorists keep paying their share. But electric vehicles don’t use special electricity that you can tax. And a purchase or a registration tax won’t restrain gridlock.

“So you need some kind of per-mile cost. And that leads you back to road pricing. The principle is you pay a small fee for every mile you drive. Just like you effectively do through fuel taxes today. In the fancier versions, you adjust the prices so you pay less on empty roads and more on busy ones.”