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Govt Looking At Road Tolls For Lorries

December 23, 2017

By Paul Homewood


I think we all saw this coming:



Britain’s first national pay-per-mile road charging system is being considered by the government, The Times has learnt.

Mileage and emissions-based charges could be introduced for lorries to cut traffic under a proposal by the Department for Transport (DfT).

It is outlining the system for heavy goods vehicles, which raises the prospect that the new levy could be used in part to replace existing taxes such as fuel duty. The move comes as the amount of fuel duty the Treasury collects — £27.5 billion this year, at a rate of 57.95p per litre of diesel or petrol — is projected to fall because of the growth of electric cars.

The government said that the road-pricing plan was restricted to lorries but industry figures predicted that it would act as a test bed for a universal system for all vehicles. The Labour government ten years ago ditched a similar scheme after a public backlash.

Duncan Buchanan, policy director at the Road Haulage Association and a former senior civil servant at the Department for Transport, said: “This is a precursor to road-user charging for every vehicle. Why would you introduce it just for lorries? . . . The electrification of lorries — so the loss of fuel duty revenue — is not going to happen as quickly as it is for cars and other small vehicles . . . It seems we are facing a scenario where they are testing the technology on us.” 


The government has naturally denied that it has plans to extend charging to cars. Nevertheless it will face a huge hole in its tax revenues as ICEs are phased out.

Worryingly the article talks of introducing the scheme to cut traffic. This also fits in with the Future Energy Scenarios report, which suggested there could be less cars on the road in future. As it also mentioned, the electricity system would struggle to cope if car ownership continued to rise after the switch to EVs.

A road charging system could be used to make it prohibitively expensive to drive cars on busy roads at busy times of the day.

Blair’s government tried to introduce road charging, but had to ditch plans after mass revolt by motorists. We may soon see it reintroduced by the back door.

One thing seems certain. Road charging will increase government revenue, rather than simply replace fuel duty like for like.

For years, governments, civil servants and planners have been wanting to get us out of our cars. This may be the thin end of the wedge.

  1. December 23, 2017 6:48 pm

    Smart Meters for smart EVs. With smart robots chasing illicit charging from lampposts.
    Roll on 2025.
    How about a smart electorate chasing a not so smart Climate Change Act?

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      December 23, 2017 10:06 pm

      No electable party opposes the CCA.

      • AlecM permalink
        December 24, 2017 8:43 am

        To be stupid is a condition of supporting the CCA, with electric vehicles powered by fossil fuels (the only way) increasing CO2 emissions but hope that greenie stupids like TM etc are punished for allowing 27% to 50% extra CO2 emissions compared with best efficiency IC engines.

        The arrogance of the Common Purpose non-engineers makes me weep.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        December 25, 2017 2:14 pm

        Sums up our democratic deficiency very nicely, Mr Gallon.

  2. December 23, 2017 6:55 pm

    There’s already a version of this in Germany, which also has a lot of foreign trucks visiting.

    • December 23, 2017 11:23 pm

      Seems to me that is not transponder based, but rather a windscreen smart card that is triggers a toll gate when you pass it.

      • RAH permalink
        December 24, 2017 7:49 am


        On my big truck I of course have the EZ-PASS transponder. But for the toll at the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit I have exactly what you describe. The sticker with chip is maybe 1″ x 3″. Just large enough that the “Ambassador Bridge” printed on it can be read easily.

        Other cards with chips on my windshield is one for US Customs and another for fueling. They call them “RFID Tags”

        They are going to a system at the larger truck stop chains where they have readers mounted overhead. If you have the proper RFID tag, it reads it and identifies your truck and company. What this does is eliminate the hassle of the driver manually imputing that information and swiping a card. The driver still has to interface using the key pad though to tell them what trailer he has and to confirm his ID# and what other products he may wish to buy other than fuel etc, but it does make the task of fueling a little quicker.

      • RAH permalink
        December 24, 2017 7:57 am

        Oh BTW, the RFID tag for fueling also works at our company scale. When I scale the truck I just pull up and stop before pulling on the scale so the system can read my RFID tag and then pull on the scale and it prints out my weights. Simple and so much easier.

        Now days at CAT Scales (A large chain of certified scales found at major truck stops) one can have an app on their phone that is called “Weigh My Truck.” One pulls on the scale, goes to the app, enters trailer information and it sends the weigh ticket to your phone automatically billing your company for the weigh. If stopped by a DOT officer or at a state scale one can just punch up the app and show the officer the weigh ticket or if they demand a hard copy can send it via e-mail attachment or fax it to them.

      • Russ Wood permalink
        December 25, 2017 4:59 pm

        Tried that around Johannesburg, South Africa. Set up e-tolling on the main commuting motorways (without any real communication with the users), and the only people who took up the RFID tags were the ones who could pass the charges on to someone else. Buy in to the system was about 15%, when stats show that road pricing only works with at least 75-80% buy-in.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      December 25, 2017 2:15 pm

      Germany introduced this years ago as their autobahn network sees thousands of trucks passing through without contributing to their upkeep.

  3. December 23, 2017 6:59 pm

    One other thing is certain – you can’t trust Lib/Lab/Con politicians.

  4. RogerJC permalink
    December 23, 2017 7:02 pm

    Bang goes privacy with any smart form of road tolling. The Government will know at all times where you are driving. The Police will love it, but of course we will get the argument that that if you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear.

    • December 23, 2017 11:04 pm

      The journos and gangsters will hack the system like they did with phones

  5. December 23, 2017 8:00 pm

    The EU’s Galileo satnav system was/is (assuming it’s ever completed) intended for this purpose; all new cars were/are to be fitted with transponders (and presumably older cars retro fitted) so that the system could track all journeys by each and every vehicle at all times. Each car user would then be billed for their mileage. Further, as each journey is tracked, any breaking of the speed limit would also be automatically registered and the driver fined. Doubtless next would come rationing with cars remotely disabled if their ration was exceeded or there was an attempt to drive a vehicle ‘out of permitted hours’.

    • December 23, 2017 8:41 pm

      Galileo will be completed …

      If our public servants decide to ransom road usage – there will be trouble.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      December 24, 2017 12:50 pm

      Some road haulage cowboys have already come up with a defeat module that fools the engine system – and the PTB – into believing the AdBlu is working as per. There was a TV doc the other night about this. A tiny electronic gizmo secreted inside the lorry that fools the ECU.
      So, what are the odds that someone hasn’t already come up with a way of fooling Galileo as to which truck is breaking the law/racking up the miles?

    • JerryC permalink
      December 24, 2017 2:56 pm

      Of course they could do all that with GPS transponders and not spend 5 billion euros.

      • David Ashton permalink
        December 25, 2017 1:47 pm

        Sorry to upset you, but I believe the latest figure for Galileo is 13 billion euros.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      December 25, 2017 2:18 pm

      Interestingly I recently learnt that GPS is quite easy to block since the signal is actually very weak. Going a step further, there was a nasty shock for the GPS system when it was shown it could be spoofed, something they believed impossible.

      • JerryC permalink
        December 25, 2017 9:20 pm

        You can jam pretty much any RF receiver, with the right frequencies and power level. Galileo receivers will be just as prone to jamming, assuming the system ever actually comes into existence. As far as GPS spoofing, I am skeptical, it sounds like another internet rumor with not much to back it up.

  6. December 23, 2017 8:01 pm

    I meant to add, “Happy Christmas” none the less!

  7. Athelstan permalink
    December 23, 2017 8:23 pm

    it’s fine all these fancy schemes but the upshot is industrial sclerosis and burdening the already hard pressed taxpayers. we are squeezed like pips, squeaking in pain and isn’t it time that the squeezed pips fought, kicked back?

    It’s time to remind the HMG that they work for us, not the other ways around.

    Public disobedience is the first response to overbearing and unnecessary authoritarianism, if you’ll excuse the pun: mobilize the drivers.

    • Frank permalink
      December 23, 2017 9:15 pm

      Easy solution, stop participating in a consumer economy. Enough people do it, and do it often enough, the Elites will come down on the government. “No one’s buying our junk” and etc.

    • December 24, 2017 1:30 am

      Stealing a quote from Andrew Montford :

      Health, law and order, the military, education: all run by the state, all in crisis.

      To which we can safely add the road system – it is all too clear.

      ICYMI The utterly dysfunctional and monumentally self serving “Highways Agency” has been turned into a government company “Highways England” and a collection of establishment worthies and cronies installed who strut about aping captains of industry.

      There are huge numbers of ANPR cameras being installed on “smart motorways” – the new scheme on the M5 south of Birmingham must have more cameras than lamp posts.

      These are the goons / traffic wombles that routinely create chaos whenever they get out of their 4*4s. The all terrain jobsworths are looking to be made equivalent to police constables (and higher ranks it’s safe to assume I reckon)

      Railway spending exceeded road spending nationally in the preceding 12 months…

      So who’s in the running to administer the scheme? I bet DVLA are in the race – positively wetting themselves at the prospect of loads more personal data to flog.

      • Athelstan permalink
        December 24, 2017 2:21 am

        Another point, albeit minor in the great scheme of things, as you’ve previously alluded to. The DVLA flogging our data – who the ****, which minister allowed that, to enable some jobsworth time server in South Wales to release personal information to all and bloody sundry? FFS. They want to know all about you, tell any uniformed authoritarian all your details……… [car park attendants et al] and we can learn nothing about them – for democracy it’s one more stab in the back, though I am not at all sure that any longer, that, the demos have the kratos – its done a runner, vanished big brother grabbed it and way past time we the people – wrested it back.

  8. John Palmer permalink
    December 23, 2017 8:33 pm

    Paul… I really hate to be pedantic (but you know, we pedants can’t help ourselves but surely, it’s fewer rather than less cars on the road.
    Sorry again – and Season’s Greetings to all.

    • December 23, 2017 8:49 pm

      You think that’s bad! Over here in the States, “reticent” is commonly used as a synonym for “reluctant” replacing reluctant even by professional speakers on television and, as usually happens with words that are sufficiently misused, is being accepted as meaning the same by the dictionary people (Merriam Webster). There are myriad other examples of this but it’s o.t. so I’ll leave it there. Nevertheless, I still hold that gay means happy, light hearted!

    • woodsy42 permalink
      December 24, 2017 11:52 am

      Yes John, all concept of numbers is being expunged from the language by journos and broadcasters with no concept of grammar or arithmetic. The ones that get me, worse than the misuse of ‘less’, is the use of ‘amount’ where they should use ‘number’ and the use of a singular verb (there’s = there is) when talking about multiple objects.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        December 24, 2017 12:44 pm

        I could be tempted to say I’m disinterested in this discussion but the pedant in me won’t allow it. 🙂

      • Crispin in Waterloo permalink
        December 27, 2017 12:13 pm

        Can I come to your 20th year anniversary? I am feeling redundant.

  9. December 23, 2017 11:18 pm

    £27.5bn road income falling cos of hybrids etc
    current fuel tax is 58p/litre.

    There is a new BBC transport info page
    For infrastructure rail had had more investment, some £50bn over the last 5 years than roads over the same period, about £43 bn. (bar chart)
    Train according to gov is 10% of passengerKM travelled and car/taxi 85%
    Later contradicts itself by saying the average household spends £5/week on train travel, whereas flights add up to £11)

    BTW I have difficulty in believing that 10% of our Km are by train.
    – Most of the country has no realistic train access in my area it must be 1% of Km
    – Metro people like Outer London commuters may well travel 80Km x 200 days per year
    – Most inner London people will not be using train much
    (I used to commute Herne-Hill to Farr’ St)

  10. December 23, 2017 11:28 pm

    Many bosses can already see from onboard transponders where the bus/truck/taxi is
    so it doesn’t have same privacy issues that private cars do.
    If I were a truck co boss I’d be happy to know I only pay per Km , instead of paying £20K/year at the start of the year.
    If the fuel tax falls then less incentive to be efficient.

    • RAH permalink
      December 24, 2017 2:16 pm

      First they tracked us by satellite and now I have a system that does it with cell phone towers. It doesn’t just track your location, it also monitors your driving. I have had calls checking up on me after avoiding an accident by hard braking or stringent maneuvering at speed to avoid getting in a collision.

      I can always tell when I’m on a load that is tight on time or one that has a particularly high value cargo because there is an indicator that tells me when I’m being monitored.

  11. December 23, 2017 11:33 pm

    Av CO2 per new car sold has gone up
    2016 : 120.3g/Km
    2017 : 121.1
    Previously fell by 4.02g/km/year since 2003. uk/car-news/102142/average-new-car-co2-emissions-increase-for-first-time-in-14-years

  12. December 23, 2017 11:42 pm

    Little Emily had 2 pages dissing Hinckley Point
    The take away line at the end was
    “Last Xmas wind was the biggest “peak source”* at 28%”
    …* she means peak demand hours

  13. fretslider permalink
    December 24, 2017 12:09 am

    to cut traffic

    In a supposedly growing economy? How does that work?

    The government has naturally denied that it has plans to extend charging to cars

    Gosh! Really? Yet we all know it has, don’t we.

    • Athelstan permalink
      December 24, 2017 2:25 am

      Growing the economy……….?

      Growing the tax grab more like – and whence “growth” of the economic sort, that clown at the treasury, the muppet who runs the BoE, the administration, Berlin, the executive, the shadow cabinet – wouldn’t have fekking clue.

      • fretslider permalink
        December 24, 2017 3:02 pm

        I see, you have quite a lot to get off your chest, there.

        I was commenting on points in the article…

      • Athelstan permalink
        December 24, 2017 4:23 pm

        You sound like them, vacant.

  14. Streetcred permalink
    December 24, 2017 12:58 am

    “A road charging system could be used to make it prohibitively expensive to drive cars on busy roads at busy times of the day.”

    Road travel by anything other than horse and cart is the privilege of the progressive “elites” … journalists think that if they aide and abet the progressives they will somehow be invited into the cabal.

  15. markl permalink
    December 24, 2017 1:46 am

    My cynical bell just rang. It’s part of the Agenda 21 plan to funnel people into cities where public is the only form of transportation….. unless you’re an elite. Make it prohibitively expensive for private transportation then ‘save’ the people by giving them so called cheap public transportation.

  16. Steve Borodin permalink
    December 24, 2017 11:09 am

    I have an idea. Why don’t we found a Conservative Party. Then, one day, we might get a conservative government that would start to cut the bloated bureaucracy down to size. And don’t start me on the even more bloated, even more corrupt, even more incompetent mega-bureaucracy in Brussels et al.

  17. December 24, 2017 11:19 am

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  18. Harry Passfield permalink
    December 24, 2017 12:33 pm

    Looking at the head pic I can see how the PTB can improve on the revenue collected. he driver having his phone scanned is obviously breaking the law by handling his mobile while driving. So a few coppers the other side of the toll booth will be waiting to slap him with a fine.
    Merry Christmas.

  19. Ben Vorlich permalink
    December 24, 2017 1:05 pm

    Listening to the news and reading online outlets this scheme is being sold as a way of making non-UK truck operators pay for road wear and tear which they don’t do now. If that is the case then post Brexit it is easy to make these trucks pay an entry fee when arriving in the country. All the facilities will be in place and only the extra staff to collect the fee will be needed.

  20. CheshireRed permalink
    December 24, 2017 1:41 pm

    All major parties will sign up to this in the same way they’re in for the CCA. Game set and match.

  21. Michael permalink
    December 24, 2017 1:57 pm

    I’ve always thought it’s better to scrap the current road tax system and add it onto fuel duty. High mileage users and high fuel consumption is penalised but not frugal drivers. The only snag is foreign wagons with huuge fuel tanks. The money collection system is already in place. What am I missing?

    • catweazle666 permalink
      December 24, 2017 7:12 pm

      Petrol and diesel are already taxed at 57.95p per litre – plus VAT, of course, so high mileage, high fuel consumption vehicles already pay more than low mileage, frugal ones, has that escaped your attention?

      • RAH permalink
        December 25, 2017 2:16 am

        Add to that fact that any tax on fuel for trucking companies is a hidden tax on the end consumer of the product(s) being transported. In the US they not only tax the fuel, and #2 ULS Diesel is more expensive than regular gasoline, they also tax for road usage through permits. In addition to the general permit that covers all states, three states (Oregon, New Mexico, and New York) have an additional road usage permit that one must buy to travel their roads legally hauling interstate freight. Then there are the toll roads where the amount of toll is based on the distance traveled and the number of axles on the vehicle transiting. Every bit of that adds to increased cost to the end user for the product(s) being transported and it’s hidden because the end consumer has no idea how much it has added to the price they are paying.

      • duker permalink
        December 25, 2017 11:09 pm

        Any tax on trucks , has to reflect that the heavy weight does most of the damage to the roads. All the cars added up is hardly anything compared to the small number of very heavy trucks

      • RAH permalink
        December 26, 2017 2:46 pm

        Of course it would be cost prohibitive for them to build roads made to take the weight of heavy truck traffic on the routes that see a lot of that kind of traffic. But somehow the Germans managed to come up with the scratch to do it.

        Let’s cut to the chase here. They don’t build roads to last because if they did there would be fewer contracts to hand out for replacement and fewer union state workers needed for repairs.

  22. J Martin permalink
    December 24, 2017 10:30 pm

    Contrary to the article I think that delivery vans and short distance lorries will move to electric faster than cars. At least those for whom range is not an issue. But for longer distance drivers that overnight in lay-bys then battery recharging would be an issue, lorry parks may have to be introduced.

    • RAH permalink
      December 25, 2017 3:32 am

      Remember that when sleeping in the truck the power used to recharge it will also have to be enough to keep the environmental system working for the driver to sleep when it’s cold or hot outside. Also when parked overnight, many of us, including me, leave our parking lights on. I don’t know how it is in England but in the US there is a shortage of overnight parking spaces in many areas and thus trucks park on Interstate entrance and exit ramps, Shopping center parking lots, and all kinds of other places not specifically designated or intended for truck parking. Also some shippers and receivers are set up so that you park at their facility when you arrive even if your taking a 10 hour break there. You give them your cell phone number and they call you when they are ready for you. All of this works against the practical use of electric powered big trucks in longer haul situations where a truck cannot make it back to their terminal for charging before they run out of juice.

  23. Mike permalink
    December 25, 2017 2:14 am

    Once again greed greed greed this goverment will destroy this country with its ridiculous ideas all this stupid idea will do is stop companies trading with this country bankrupt haulage firms and drive up the prices of everything. everything is delivered by truck plus it won’t stop with trucks lets face it they will introduce it to cars not long after it’s a joke

    • catweazle666 permalink
      December 25, 2017 1:53 pm

      “and drive up the prices of everything”

      Which – given that most things are taxed at retail value – further increases the tax take too, of course.

      Hey, what’s not to like, ‘Spreadsheet Phil’ will be rubbing his slimy hands in glee.

  24. Gerry, England permalink
    December 25, 2017 2:26 pm

    At some point the morons that govern us are going to kill off the economy by making everything too expensive.

  25. Daz permalink
    December 25, 2017 6:23 pm

    YOU pay the extra tax , not the haulers they just pass it on making EVERYTHING you buy more expensive , tax by stealth on stupid people to dim to see that the GOV has found a new source of revenue disguised as being environmentally friendly .
    Green taxes do nothing accept swelling gov revenues .

    • RAH permalink
      December 26, 2017 12:45 am

      Yep, I always laugh when fools start talking about taxing some industry or another. Corporate taxes,taxes on services, and taxes on inventory are just being passed on to the consumer with additional necessary cost of the book keeping and cost of money being added on. ANY tax that is not itemized on the receipt when a consumer buys a product is a hidden tax and we pay a lot of them.

  26. December 26, 2017 11:40 am

    ICE’s won’t be phased out despite the hollow word propagated by the MSM. The law of conservation of energy will prevent that an EV will replace an ICE in terms of cost/environment/practical use. The only way to replace the 523 Quadrillion BTU of total energy today expended is via direct mass/energy conversion.
    As such what’s needed is an enormous investment in the development of small and safe mobile nuclear power plants.
    the SAFE 400 reactor developed for space station use could be a good starting point.
    What we really need is to forget electric drive trains. Despite the fact that an electric motor is really a good device, few moving parts, high torque at any speed it needs a a power source which unfortunately is neither efficient, resilient nor safe.
    It is not for nothing the drivetrain outdates the ICE but never managed to conquer the market.
    The present obsession is really monomaniac. Just because the motor is ideal doesn’t mean the whole system is. The weakest link will ever be the power source.

    Me personally i will never take on a mountainous/desert road in most of the the world without 2 10 gallon jerrycans of reservefuel which is not possible with an EV.

    EV’s are nice feel good cars in large cities with a good infrastructure which are and will be in the foreseeable future in the vast minority.

    And don’t start me on EV long haul trucks. Just charging them at a great number at once is physically impossible given modern infrastructure let alone in the rest of the world.

    • Daz permalink
      December 26, 2017 4:23 pm

      IF Batteries were the savior rail would be phasing out their diesels and towing a battery car ( or three ) they have no weight problem like trucks , batteries on trucks are a non starter , there’s no spare weight when batteries replace payload .

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