More transparent road charging for tourists welcomed, but should not be a justification for new taxes, says FIA Region I
Brussels, 14 May 2012
“While we welcome the Commission’s intention to make road charging more fair and transparent for those travelling cross-border, the focus on distance-based charging must not be used as a pretext to introduce new taxes by the back door”, said Werner Kraus, President of FIA Region I, following the European Commission’s release of new guidelines on cross-border road charging.
The guidelines issued today warn that under EU law road charging schemes must not discriminate against foreign drivers. The aim is to assist Member States who are considering introducing new charging schemes for private cars. The Commission said new rules in the future would have to offer shorter time periods, be easily understandable and more proportionate.
“We support a more transparent road charging system for European drivers. Making short-term vignettes available, giving clearer information on pricing and supporting fairer enforcement is long overdue”, said Mr Kraus.
With regard to the Commission’s focus on distance based vignettes, Mr Kraus warned however that, “Any change of taxation scheme must be revenue neutral. Road users are already heavily taxed throughout the EU 27”. He added, “Those taxes which are collected should be re-invested into making our mobility more sustainable, for instance by promoting safer and more efficient road infrastructure”.
The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Region I office, based in Brussels, represents 36 million motorists via its 106 member clubs.
Notes to Editor:
The Commission guidelines
The Commission wants to guide Member States on what constitutes a non-discriminatory charging scheme. If they are not designed carefully, vignette systems are more likely to cause unwarranted problems for foreign drivers who are simply passing through a country.
1. The Commission expresses a clear preference for distance-based toll system over a time-based "vignette sticker" system.
2. If a time-based "vignette system" is used, then certain conditions must be met according to the Commission. There must be:
(a) Minimum short term vignettes. There must be, as a minimum, weekly, monthly and yearly "vignettes" available to residents and non-residents. Clearly, the shortest term vignettes are most likely to be used by non-residents.
(b) An acceptable "average daily price ratio": The average daily price ratio shows the average price, expressed in equivalent daily price, that a non-resident pays (using the shortest term vignette e.g. a weekly vignette) compared to a resident using the longest one (e.g. an annual vignette).
Based on the schemes currently in place, the average daily price a non-resident pays can vary from 2.5 to up to 8.2 times the price a resident pays. This would be considered the upper acceptable limit. To compare, the maximum ratio permitted by the EU's "Eurovignette directive" for heavy goods vehicles is 7.3.
Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Region I office
FIA Region I represents 106 Touring and Motoring Clubs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa from its Brussels office, which total more than 36 million members. The FIA represents the interest of these members as motorists, public transport users, pedestrians and tourists.
The FIA’s primary goal is to secure a mobility that is safe, affordable, sustainable and efficient. With these aims in mind the work focuses on Road Safety, Consumer Protection, Environmental Protection, and the promotion of Sustainable Motoring.
For more information, please contact Niall Carty, Communications Manager, FIA Region I: firstname.lastname@example.org or 02 282 0812