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back to article Half of UK road users support usage-based road charging

A Department for Transport survey has found that more than half of UK adults believe that road charging should be based on usage. The finding is revealed in the DfT's survey of public attitudes to road congestion, published on 26 August 2010. Over four in five adults thought that congestion was a serious problem for the UK and …

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Link to vote for this.

http://yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk/cutting-business-and-third-sector-regulations/abolish-car-tax-and-put-on-fuel

You know it makes sense...

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Comment backlog

Cue 20 posts below (mine not yet even published) saying exactly the same thing, with everyone (myself included) thinking they were the first to say it!

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Anonymous Coward

Scrap VAT on duty first...

Yes, scrap Road Tax and increase the duty. But make sure that VAT is paid ONLY on the cost of the fuel as NOT on fuel+duty as is currently the case. And make sure that the additional duty is spent on maintaining roads AND pavements.

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Flame

Show us the questions

I could get 90% of people to agree stopping breathing was a good idea by crafting the questions.

No report is worth the paper it isn't written on unless the questions are fair and unbiased.

Would you prefer road charging based on

a) actual road usage usage

b) engine size

Can then be stated by self serving government departments to prove that everyone who answered this question agreed with road pricing.

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Heart

Good point!

"I could get 90% of people to agree stopping breathing was a good idea by crafting the questions."

Let's see... "Do you agree that CO2 pollution is a terrible problem and that everyone should stop contributing CO2 to the atmosphere?"

Pretty easy. Ask that at a primary school and see what kind of % you get :D

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Think of the cost saving...

Simply abolish the Tax Disc, calculate the average motorist milage (say 8k per anum), and then add that to the cost of fuel.

The benefits:

Pay for what you use.

If you have a gas guzzler, you pay me

If you have something environmentally friendly you pay less

There is NO way to avoid to

There is no need to police it

There is no need for the vast majority of DLVA

Foreign drivers pay to use our roads

Motorists with more than one vehicle are not stung (e.g. Motorcycle and Car)

The upsides are many, the downsides are pretty much non-existant. (can anyone think of a valid one?). Just the amount of money saved in Government at the DVLA will bring a huge cost saving...

As long as the initial calculation of what increase in fuel duty is as a result of it is fair and truey reflects a average UK motorist in a average UK car doing a average UK annual milage, then I am totally in favor of this, and the sooner the better....

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On-street parking

I agree with pretty much all of that.

The downside to scrapping the Tax Disc is that the number of cars parked on the street will increase. Unused cars will not have to be declared SORN and parked on private land to avoid the tax.

Also, it may be more difficult to identify abandoned cars.

I suppose that parking permits could fix that in problem areas.

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g e
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And can we ad...

up the 40p/mile mileage allowance to reflect the 100% price hike in fuel since it was set at that level.

We spend 000's more on fuel per year than maintenance, should be more like 65-70p per mile by now!

If anyone knows how 40p was calculated I'd love to know the breakdown (pun not intended!).

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sounds like fuel duty

I thought fuel duty was already the pay as you drive road tax.

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I can think of one straight away.

Disabled drivers. Or those with Motability Scheme vehicles.

Particularly with regards to those with Motability Scheme cars - where usually their entire Disability Allowance is used to fund the cost of the car, leaving nothing left over for the cost of the fuel. You suggestion would unfairly penalise them.

Here's another one - rural drivers. Often with no public transport alternatives and are accordingly forced to use their cars. This would unfairly penalise them.

Oh and how about this one - People who use their cars because the public transport costs are an absolute bloody rip off and, in many cases, are MUCH more expensive than driving the car. Sort out the bloody public transport costs BEFORE hammering motorists at every angle and I might be inclined to start agreeing with you.

So much for 'pretty much non-existant downsides', eh? Or was it a case of you not being bothered enough to actually give it some thought?

I never fail to be amazed that we SOLD OFF the train rail network to private investors who then still demand massive subsidies to operate, seemingly increase ticket prices whenever they feel like it, cut train services (or increase the First Class provision), are making enormous profits for the shareholders and Execs - and yet still bleat and whine that they don't have any money for investment! They should be forced to invest some of those obscene profits ni the network. Or use them to reduce ticket prices. No-one (and I don't believe the poll stating that 4 out of 5 agree with road pricing) will accept us as drivers continuing being milked until there are AFFORDABLE alternatives.

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That's bollocks

"Here's another one - rural drivers. Often with no public transport alternatives and are accordingly forced to use their cars. This would unfairly penalise them."

I live in a rural area, and have no problem with putting the cost on fuel, do you have some evidence that suggests that rural drivers do more miles than urban drivers? If not, then it's not a unfair tax at all. Nobody is forcing anyone to pay for something they don't already pay for. We are saying that those that take more (of the road) should pay more.

Pretty much all your points actually fail.. Nobody is entitled to have a car, not even the disabled.

I say go one further, if you are an OAP, you get the choice, keep your car OR get a free bus pass, you can't have both.... Surrender your licence in exchange for your free OAP bus pas..

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Re: On-street parking

Gosh, identifying untaxed cars must be a *serious* problem for all those countries that don't issue tax discs.

Oh, wait, it isn't. You know that thing with the aerial on the end that issues the tickets? Well, the traffic warden can look up the tax status of a vehicle from its registration number.

The tax disc has served absolutely no genuine purpose for many years now. The only reason it still exists is so that when it drops off the windscreen onto the floor they get to fine you for it. Over here I get billed quarterly for car tax and no little pieces of paper have to change hands to accomplish this.

Oh and SORN? That never served any valid purpose bar ensuring that everyone who owns any sort of vehicle gets to be pissed off by the DVLA rather than only those that actually use them.

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Grenade

Hurrah

the DVLA seems to be a large bureaucracy, which spend most of its time thinking up new means of raising money, which it needs to pay for the large bureaucracy which has built up in order to manage these new ways of raising money.

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You Need Road Tax

Otherwise how do the governement and the police know who owns motor vehicles then?

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Big Brother

Congratulations, Peter 45

You have now discovered Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy.

"In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely."

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Big Brother

downside is obvious

There would be no need for ANPR cameras and satellite tracking of every journey make and how many people in the car. No need for in car face recognition cameras pointing at the driver. No need for ID cards and implanted RFID chips.

Clearly the only way of fairly taxing the road system is to track every movement of every human and tax based on all the data collected. If you make a journey without paying the charge in advance you can then be fined.

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This old chestnut...

The Dept for Transport keep wheeling out this policy as the solution to the countries traffic ills. I suspect that some top Civil Servant in that dept has shares in Serco or something who will probably be commissioned to run the scheme.

There is already a form of road pricing, it is called fuel duty. Put it up and those that use the roads the most pay the most. Those that sit on the worse congested roads pay more it is totally self administering and doesn't require spending billions of tax pounds on an IT infrastructure to monitor the movements of all cars. Unless of course the real aim is to monitor the movements of all cars in which case you probably need to find some way to sell the idea to a sceptical public.

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Pint

The title is too long.

<STRONG>"Unless of course the real aim is to monitor the movements of all cars in which case you probably need to find some way to sell the idea to a sceptical public."</STRONG>

Now who'da thunk they'd still be trying all the things that NuLabour did, but with a different justification?

It doesn't matter who I vote for, the Government still gets in!

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Anonymous Coward

stupid title

Thing is most people think they will pay less.

So every 100 drivers pay 15,000 in road tax between them. And their average millage is say 15,000 miles per year. They think that as they do only 7,500 miles they will save money and only pay £75.

what they do not understand is that the top end drivers with their 100,000 - 150,000 milesper year will be capped on payments otherwise they will go out of business.

Also the goverment knows that the average person was paying £150 do they will eventully increase the charges to that amount, or build in the cost of the systemm at the beginning.

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Half of UK road users..

..."prefers" to bite down on a piece of wood, when shafted roughly from behind.

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Is is that difficult

With regards the statement

"Any road charging scheme, the most high profile example of which is London's congestion charge, would involve the heavy use of IT for identifying vehicles and tracing their owners"

Why can we not just add the road charge to the price of Petrol/diesel (any fuel), and then the government retrieve it from the fule companies. That way you only pay for what you use, and you also do not have the issue that people will refuse to pay, they have to buy fuel!

What would we be talking about, a few pence per litre. Could it be that simple?

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Electric Cars

What happens when Electric cars start becoming wide spread, if they ever do.

You would have to find a way of seperating the electricity used in the home and the electricity used in charging the car battery so that you can add extra tax to it.

And since there would be a financial advantage to charging at the domestic rate, even if the charging units had their own meters somebody would run an extension cord out the window.

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Why do you think they want us all to have smart meters?

So that when electric cars become widespread you won't be able to charge them using normal household electricity, as that's not taxed enough.

Instead the smart meter in your house will communicate with the smart charger in your car and automatically add 'Electric Vehicle Charging Duty' to the cost of each unit of electricity you use to re-charge your vehicle.

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FAIL

WTF?

We already have "usage based road charging" - it's called fuel duty.

Logic fail.

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Unhappy

road usage and fuel duty

> We already have "usage based road charging" - it's called fuel duty.

No it isn't. That's a tax on the use of fuel. This isn't the same thing as road usage. A gas guzzler will need a lot more fuel to use as much road as a supermini, all other things being equal.

Transport policy in this country has been fucked up for decades. There are too many cars and trucks on the roads and far too much congestion as a result. But there's no alternative because public transport is either non-existent or expensive and shit.

Road pricing is not the answer, even if it could be made to work and the civil liberties problems could be solved. Which of course they won't.

Meanwhile the Department of Transport plays a long game, softening up public opinion for road pricing, as it prepares the ground for yet another over-ambitious and expensive surveillance system. You'd hope Whitehall would look past the PR bullshit and realise from the ID card fiasco that this new scheme is doomed to fail.

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Grenade

Doh!

"No it isn't. That's a tax on the use of fuel. This isn't the same thing as road usage. A gas guzzler will need a lot more fuel to use as much road as a supermini, all other things being equal."

...So a bigger car (occupying more road space) will cost more?

Still sounds like a road use tax to me.

...And travelling a larger, faster, less congested road at higher average speed will cost less?

Yep. Still sounds more efficient way to charge for road usage than a huge network of cameras and ridiculous administrative / bureaucratic overhead.

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Coat

Re: Doh!

You would have a point, if all vehicles of a given size and occupying the same road space used the same amount of fuel.......

Mine's the one with the keys to the AC Cobra in the pocket.

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Good point

Good point. With road usage tax, I'll be able to run a massive 5l V8, and pay the same as somebody else running a 1.6

Unless of course, there's going to be some elaborate and complex way of charging based upon engine size.

Oh wait, hang on, don't we already have this with FUEL DUTY?

As I say. Logic fail.

This whole idea is somewhere on the far side of daft.

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FAIL

@Matt

"This whole idea is somewhere on the far side of daft."

As is the government and a majority of civil servants.

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Let me guess

The half that agreed were those who do below average mileage. Either way, two things are going to happen:

1. Money will not go back into transport. It doesn't now so it's not likely to happen in the future. Road transport subsidises general government expenditure to the tune of billions.

2. It's not going to be cost neutral. IT systems and bureaucracy have to be paid for so if the total take is the same as now there will inevitably be less money for government to use.

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Alert

Road usage charging on the cheap?

Surely the cheapest way to charge for road usage would be to scrap the annual tax and add the cost to a litre of petrol.

How ever much travelling you do, the more you pay. It would also mean foreign cars get 'taxed', "gas guzzlers" get 'taxed' at a higher rate, lorries get 'taxed' higher still. As long as the rate of extra duty is ring-fenced so it can't be syphoned into the education budget and any increases are stated separately in the budget.

Extra set-up and running costs? Nil

The only problem would be charging extra for the busiest and most congested roads - this could be solved by putting in a series of steep hills to use up more fuel, though!

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Big Brother

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

Or by going back to the tricks that Red Ken was playing on Londoners before his "Congestion" Charge tax came into play: fiddle with the traffic light timings to cause extra congestion. It is incredible how much extra fuel is used in a 3 hour stop/start crawl/delay. That will have the added advantage of fouling up the air quality measurements, so the greenies can then campaign to have all the affected roads declared "traffic free" (in the same way that vast swathes of the landscape is now "smoke free").

Whichever way they do it, the ambition seems to foul up the ability of the individual to travel in his own country, except he has permission from "the authorities" for each and every journey.

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yeah right

'more than half of UK adults believe that road charging should be based on usage.'

seems to me that they have employed the same statisticians that 'proved' how effective speed cameras are

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I don't get it

Why do they need to make driving on the roads *more* complicated? Ditch road tax, ditch tolls, and ditch congestion charges then stick it all on fuel. One payment, less administration, money saved.

Or am I missing something?

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Yep - your missing something

The only problem is that anyone bringing a lorry or car into the UK will fill the tanks to the brim before crossing the channel. Lorries that may cross the channel regularly will have large capacity fuel tanks fitted. Chip shops will do a roaring trade in selling waste oil to anyone with a garden shed to produce home brew diesel in. Every back street garage will have a special offer on converting your car to run on propane or butane from cylinders intended for bbq’s. In Northern Ireland, those who don’t know someone in the IRA with a nice line in smuggled fuel will fill up in Eire, and quite how they decide to make electric cars pay their way, I really don’t know.

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Fuel tank tax

Tax lorries coming in based on the capacity of their fuel tanks. I'd be interested in knowing what UK haulage firms think of that idea. Because it's not like every UK truck returning from the continent fills up with cheap fuel before getting on the ferry, is it now?

Petrol prices in Eire are not actually very competitive, although that varies with the exchange rate, especially near the border where the Irish petrol stations generally up their prices to just a bit below the UK prices, much to the annoyance of local Irish people.

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Fuel duty?

There are some shaky assumptions and conclusions in there, not least "Any road charging scheme... would involve heavy use of IT".

"Fuel duty" is still a usage-based road charge, just not one that offers much control.

However, the article doesn't talk about whether over 50% of users want the govt to have that extra control, or whether they're happy for the money to be spent on the infrastructure for it.

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This is a good idea

This will add an extra incentive for people to live closer to work or work from home, it will ensure that those who use the roads most pay the most, it’s a fair system which will save money for those of us that choose to use our cars less (it is possible, people just need to be willing to change – I’ve reduced my annual mileage by around 8k Miles in the last two years!). If its properly executed and all the money doesn't just go to central government this would be very good for the countries roads.

Also such a system could be used to track down uninsured cars (among other things), I think most of us would agree it would be better for all of us law abiding citizens if we chucked these offenders off our roads or at least gave them heavy fines to drive down the cost of our driving!

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Moron...

...I work in an utter fucking shithole of an area. That's why the campus is here, it's dead cheap land as no one want to live in this hole.

I live 10 miles from work and oddly enough when I did live closer, it actually took 20 minutes longer to work as I had to battle with the other hapless soles.

So now I live further out, come in a different route and probebrly use less fuel.

And as I live ina nice area, I don't have to drive out every weekend to get out of the shit tip, I'm happy to walk to the shops at night as I know I'm unlikely to get stabbed. My kid can play in the park without worring about sitting on a syringe by some crack head and my wife can go to the local without fear of being raped.

So fuck of you smug self centered prick. I pay for the travel it's called fuel duty, so don't tell me I should live in some fucking dump, to save £1 a week.

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Happy

QFT

Are you running for MP.

i would vote for you :)

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The art of debate

It's good to see that the internet has honed the art of reasoned debate. Just because you can denigrate someone with appalling language, which, in ordinary circumstances, would result in you having your head kicked in, it doesn't mean you absolutely have to.

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WTF?

Charging based on use? We do that already...

...it's called petrol (or diesel) and it's associated taxes.

The more you use the more you pay. We do that already, so don't lump on extra "road charging" as if it's some great, fantastic "equaliser" of the heavy road users. All it would be would be an EXTRA charge on top of what we pay right now.

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Ownership

"half of adults said that money raised from a road charging should be spent solely on roads and transport "

What? And have drivers think they own the roads even more than they do already? Not on your nelly.

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WTF?

If only...

If only there was an easy way to tax motorists based on road usage, perhaps even going so far as to link those taxes to fuel efficiency so that bigger cars pay bigger taxes.

Hmm, how about putting a tax on PETROL???? Oh, we've got one? Good, now go away.

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Unlimited?

Will they be able to sell "unlimited" road usage as well (subject to Fair-Use policy of 10 miles/month, speeds UP TO 70mph, mean of 5mph, capacity may be reduced at peak times etc etc)

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Hang on

Isn't the tax on fuel a reasonable form of usage cost? The only one's that really get round this are the European lorries that generally fill up before they cross the channel. Obviously it is up for debate where the fuel tax should be spent, but it sounds better than usage-based road charging and the technical and freedom headache that would cause.

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Hidden Agenda

Let's be clear why the government wants to do this. The switch from petroleum based power to electric, lpg and maybe hydrogen is going to put a huge hole in the fuel duty finances. The government needs to maintain the income independently of the fuel used. Usage solves that neatly.

The awkward factor is that usage does not penalise inefficient energy use (type AND quantity) unless you have opt outs as in the London Congestion Charge. But then that introduces the absurdities of people driving huge hybrid energy hungry Lexus Hybrids compared with someone driving a more energy efficient vehicle (like a Citroen C1). Thsi sends wrong messages.

Oh and for the conspiracy theorists it ensures the government knows where you are and have been. But they do already!

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I dont have a subject!

> Oh and for the conspiracy theorists it ensures the government knows where you are and have been. But they do already!

Dont discount this. Do you really think they will collect all this data and only use it for charging for the distance covered?

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Anonymous Coward

This isn't a subject?

It'd be nice if the system could provide rights to open audits, transparent access, open sourced everything, hard mathematical guarantees, and all that, to show exactly what they use the data for, how long and what for they keep it, and so on. So that even if for some unfathomable reason privacy has to suffer (try harder!) we bloody well know the reason why.

That is very different than having to rely on mis-mailed DVDs or USB sticks left on trains to know what the government is up to now with our data.

Besides, the government should stop getting off on new database toys and the plod should get back to policing by Peelian Principles. You know your security force has lost contact with reality if it's going to have to tax you to "make you happy".

[What, does Friend Computer detect dissent, Citizen? Have a happy pill, Citizen!]

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Nice idea in principle

It's a nice idea in principle and sounds fair but can only really be so if there is a reasonable alternative. Whilst the public transport system is still so shoddy and expensive then expansive road pricing will lead to;

Ever higher increase in house prices in towns compare to the country as people compete for housing that will save them from having to pay to use roads.

The poor being shoved out further and further as they can't afford to compete for the housing

The poor getting poorer because they now commute the furthest and so have to pay by usage.

To put it another way a pay by usage scheme doesn't really reflect a choice by the travelling public. The poor will not be choosing to travel further and therefore pay more. They will simply be forced to do so by being poor and there being not alternative. So it simply becomes another regressive tax.

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