While modern transport systems largely contribute to the high levels of economic and social welfare in our societies, they also generate downsides in terms of traffic casualties, climate change, air pollution, noise, and traffic congestion. At the same time, the transport system is often criticised to not fully cover the costs, it imposes on society. The background of such criticism is reflected in the (theoretical) concept of external costs.
In 2019, the European Commission has evaluated the external costs in transport. While this research has been comprehensive and thorough, it also showed the limitations of such an exercise. Data and calculations depend on the quality of the assumptions and are afflicted by significant uncertainties and approximations, which largely diminish the validity of many conclusions and hypothecate the appropriateness to allocate them to consumers.
The FIA European Bureau supports the intelligent use of an appropriately balanced mix of command-and-control measures and alternative policies to diminish the negative effects of road transport rather than to charge for their occurrence.