New pay-per-mile car tax system 'unavoidable' and will come into force sooner than thought

Drivers could see pay-per-mile taxes coming in sooner than they think. Road users and motorists up and down the country have been warned the controversial system and policy is "unavoidable" as the new Labour Party government takes power.

Michael Dnes, the head of future roads technology at the Department for Transport, 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.”

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He said: “There’s a perfect ‘window’ for doing this – plenty of EV sales, but not many EVs already on the road. It’s well above my pay-grade. People like me exist to deliver the will of elected governments, not second-guess it. The only thing I will say is that the UK will be firmly outside that window by 2029. So, whatever the choice, the new Government will be the one making it.”

Labour’s election manifesto did not set out the party’s plan for fuel duty or vehicle excise duty, commonly known as “road tax”, which electric car drivers will start paying from next year. It said: “Cars remain by far the most popular form of transport. Labour will maintain and renew our road network, to ensure it serves drivers, cyclists and other road users, remains safe, and tackles congestion.”

A government spokesman said: “These are the views of an individual and do not reflect government policy. We have no plans to introduce road pricing.”