A bit of sanity

No, it didn’t come from Government or the “road safety” lobby. It comes from the mainstream Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) which calls for an end to delays in fuel duty increases. It is not radical in its recommendation – calling for no further cuts in fuel duty, rather than an increase. Nevertheless,  a mainstream think tank opposing the ideas that there is a war on motorists” and that fuel duty should not be increased is welcome. Here is what they say in summary:

“Put simply, there is no war on motorists. Fuel duty and VED are both effective and justifiable motoring taxes that not only encourage gr eater fuel efficiency but go some way to offsetting the environmental and social costs of motoring. Recent government reductions or delays to planned increases in fuel duty in particular are not justified in terms of sound public policymaking.”

“This paper has examined the claims that motoring taxes are too high and that insufficient revenue from them is spent on roads. We conclude that neither is true. ”

Motoring taxes fail to cover two-thirds of the costs imposed on society by motor vehicle use, according to the report.

It says motorists pay only 6p/km in fuel duty and VAT, but the cost of congestion, death/serious injury, air pollution, reduced public health, noise and CO2 emissions from car use is over 15p/km, or around £50 billion per year.

The report says this estimate  doesn’t include costs that are difficult to quantify such as “severance of communities, degradation of landscape and the opportunity cost of land”.

The IPPR urges the Government to “make every effort to avoid further delays in fuel duty increases”, which will cost the exchequer £14bn in total over the five years from 2011-12.

The think tank also points out that, while taxes are high, overall motoring costs have fallen by 5% since 1997 if the cost of buying cars, insurance and repair costs are included.
The report also highlights that two-thirds of the poorest 10% of households have no car and rely on public transport, bus fares rising 69% since 2001, compared to the 5% real terms decrease in motoring costs since 1997.