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Road Pricing Will Cost Motorists Dear

July 27, 2021

By Paul Homewood 


I want to return to yesterday’s story about road pricing:






Road pricing – charging drivers for their “use of roads” -  is a glib concept. After all, why should not people pay for what they use?

But how much should they pay?


Currently Fuel Duties and Vehicle Excise Duty bring in £34.2bn a year for the Exchequer. Yet state spending on roads, both capital and operational, is only about £11bn. In other words, VED alone covers most of the cost of roads.



In short, fuel duties are simply a form of general taxation, and nothing to do with funding roads. Any system of charging for the use of roads should therefore reflect the actual costs, whilst at the same time VED and fuel duties should be totally scrapped.


As this clearly is not the intention of the new levy suggested by Roger Bootle, we must assume that the levy is simply another form of general taxation, and a highly regressive one at that.

Unlike fuel duties, which cost owners of big, gas guzzlers more than owners of small cars, everybody will pay the same amount of tax if they do the same mileage on the same roads. Based on RAC estimates, private cars account for £16.4bn of fuel duty, £517 per car. Average annual mileage is said to be 7400, which implies an average of 37.7mpg.

Therefore, a driver who averages, say, 50 mpg will find himself £126 a year worse off. If he does more than 7400 miles a year, that figure will rise correspondingly.

In any event, it seems inevitable that the revenue from the new levy will be much higher than from fuel duties, once administration costs are added in. There are also suggestions that road charging should also contain an element of congestion charging (something which the voters of Manchester rejected by a large majority a few years ago).

Then there is the stated aim of government and CCC that we must use our cars much less. It is highly likely we will see road charging set at punitive levels to “encourage” us on to buses and bikes.

One way or the other, the motorist will be fleeced.

  1. July 27, 2021 3:31 pm

    The former registration disc signified payment of the!eh Roads Tax.

  2. July 27, 2021 3:36 pm

    “Road pricing – charging drivers for their “use of roads” –  is a glib concept. After all, why should not people pay for what they use?”

    They already did.
    Road construction and maintenance and road traffic control and management are taxpayer funded.

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      July 27, 2021 6:39 pm

      Exactly, we already paid and are still paying. Lynching time.

  3. Colin R Brooks AKA Dung permalink
    July 27, 2021 3:36 pm

    I bought my dream car in 2008 (BMW 3 litre twin turbo coupe) and since then I have had to pay £400/year road tax, NOW they want me to also pay by the mile!!!!!?

    • Penda100 permalink
      July 27, 2021 4:08 pm

      No Colin, they don’t want you to have an ICE car or, even better, NO car at all. Then the planet will be saved.

      • Andrew Mark Harding permalink
        July 27, 2021 6:42 pm

        The planet will be “saved” but the economy will be destroyed for what? Virtue signalling, because it is crystal clear from the NOAA data that mankind has not added significant quantities of CO2.

        The rate of the rise of CO2 from the start of the second quarter of 2020, to the end of the first quarter in 2021has shown no change whatsoever!

        These idiotic government policies are an, unnecessary exercise in futility that will setback our economy to its pre-industrial revolution level ie feudal!

      • Gerry, England permalink
        July 28, 2021 10:10 am

        The punchline is that the planet won’t be saved by this anyway – not that there is any proof that it is in danger in the first place.

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      July 27, 2021 9:17 pm

      No, you’ll be sent to a re-education camp, after watching your Beemer being crushed.

  4. Dave Ward permalink
    July 27, 2021 3:43 pm

    “Any system of charging for the use of roads should therefore reflect the actual costs, whilst at the same time VED and fuel duties should be totally scrapped”

    As I own 3 vehicles, and can only drive one of them at a time, the above would (most likely) be to my advantage. BUT……as Paul observes, this ain’t gonna happen…

  5. Jack Broughton permalink
    July 27, 2021 4:00 pm

    All of the mad policies that will cost the poorest dearly are, sadly, for no real benefit of society. We have already closed down a perfectly good and well developed power system and replaced it with a pack-of-cards, storing up future problems. The intention now is to destroy a well developed transportation system, which despite many flaws, works fairly well, with an undeveloped system that only works on paper.

    These massive investments could have been used to improve the lot of the UK people, whose lot are they improving? They are not going to alter the climate one jot, as King Canute could have shown them.

    All justified by “saving the planet” no matter what the cost, or reality involved!

    The press are full of current weather events that they claim are certain “evidence of climate change” ….. provided that you do not look at history or facts.

  6. Tom Scott permalink
    July 27, 2021 4:04 pm

    What excuse will they use? At the moment our cars are filthy, noisey, climate change catastrophes on wheels. If they are smooth, green electric cars, why shouldn’t we use them as much as we like. What will be their excuse for punitive taxation?

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      July 27, 2021 5:56 pm

      They will produce more particulates from tyre wear than a rather lighter ICE vehicle.

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      July 27, 2021 6:40 pm

      Same as now, because they can and no one lynches them.

    • July 29, 2021 4:38 pm

      Electric cars are very far from “green”, when manufacturing and extra electricity generation are taken into account.
      Thesecars are a triumph of state ignorance and bossiness combined: a complete con.

      Almost all substitutes for fossil fuel power are that:shocking!

  7. July 27, 2021 4:05 pm

    Food & drink has risen sharply since the beginning of Covid in March 2020 and further normalised by later lockdowns.

    Wouldn’t Ocado and other shops offering e-commerce pass these road costs on to the consumer?

    (I would have added Amazon but they seem to be delivering (here in Essex) with vans powered by electric, am assuming Bezos gets a heavy discount for this.)

  8. July 27, 2021 4:05 pm

    Toxic for the Party that tries to introduce such a policy. The PollTax on wheels.

  9. MrGrimNasty permalink
    July 27, 2021 4:11 pm

    With VAT and congestion charges etc. motoring taxes actually raise about £40M, £750 per adult, 5% of government revenue (IFS for 2019/20).

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      July 27, 2021 4:18 pm

      Derrrrr billion of course.

  10. richardw permalink
    July 27, 2021 4:37 pm

    When they say there are too many cars, what they actually mean is that there are too many people.

    The 25% increase in fuel prices we have recently seen is a direct consequence of the noises made by Biden about banning oil & gas exploration and the absurd net zero investment philosophies of western fund managers, leading to supply sidle constraints. This is the other factor that will increase transport and heating costs.

  11. H Davis permalink
    July 27, 2021 4:38 pm

    We have “toll” roads here in the US. You pay a fee to use the road each time you use it, either at a toll booth or by means of an electronic sensor that recognizes your car and charges your credit card.

    Do you have anything like this in the UK?

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      July 27, 2021 6:11 pm

      There is M6 Toll, about 27 miles of motorway to the North of Birmingham which now charges up to £7 for a car to do the whole length and avoid jams and roadworks on the original M6. Otherwise mainly a few bridges.

      Toll roads were very popular in previous centuries – at least with the owners of them. They had their heyday in the 18th and 19th century before railway competition eroded their revenues, and they were gradually brought in to public ownership as Parliament refused to renew their licences. The last Turnpike Trust closed in 1895.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      July 27, 2021 6:31 pm

      Yes. But quite limited and there are alternative routes in most cases, so you can choose to pay to save time.

    • Stuart Brown permalink
      July 27, 2021 6:51 pm

      We seem to prefer toll bridges and tunnels, many with electronic passes as you describe.

      But the best example has to be France. Nearly all the Autoroutes (multi-lane stuff) are toll roads, and the Routes National that are the toll free roads tend to go through the middle of every small speed bump infested town. The French are easily roused by tax increases but don’t seem to object to tolls so much.

      Autoroutes seem generally better maintained than UK motorways. Why it works there and not here in the UK is a mystery to me.

      • MikeHig permalink
        July 27, 2021 11:26 pm

        Those French autoroutes are also eye-wateringly expensive!
        My run from Calais to the Alps (600 miles) cost about €180 return the last time I did it, back in early 2020. That’s pretty close to the annual UK road tax for my car!
        Years ago French fuel prices used to be much lower than ours which eased the cost pain a bit but now it’s the other way round.
        The roads are superb though; the M20 back from Folkestone makes it feel as if the car’s wheels are like 50p coins!

  12. markl permalink
    July 27, 2021 4:43 pm

    The Socialists/Marxists are always looking for ways to spend other peoples’ money although it does make sense to pay for what you use. So why aren’t welfare recipients taxed accordingly?

  13. Micky R permalink
    July 27, 2021 5:54 pm

    Road users in the UK have no effective political representation, therefore road users are steamrollered at every opportunity. Don’t forget, approx 60% of the forecourt cost of petrol is tax, including tax on tax (VAT on fuel duty).

  14. Chaswarnertoo permalink
    July 27, 2021 6:36 pm

    We already pay tax at 200% on road fuel. What do these twonks want, blood?

  15. July 27, 2021 6:42 pm

    The Queen’s highway does not belong to the government, but to the people. We have the ancient right to travel along it to go where we wish as free subjects of the Crown without paying a penny.
    It’s one thing to pay voluntarily to ride on a toll road as a convenience; that’s our choice. But it’s tyranny to charge us to travel along established roads when we have no choice but to use any particular road to move about.
    Motor vehicles are simply the modern manifestation of horse drawn conveyances and as such should be treated no differently.

    • Russ Wood permalink
      July 29, 2021 4:26 pm

      There has been a profusion of toll roads on South Africa’s major routes in the past, especially the main road (N1) between Johannesburg and Pretoria, which has been widened and tolled (electronically – at great expense in foreign exchange). Other than the N3 between Johannesburg and Durban, there hasn’t been much in the way of visible improvement. In this case, the alternative route takes you about 100 km extra, through lots of towns and minor roads. But in general, the SA toll roads are usually the EXISTING major routes, somewhat improved. (Mind you, before tolls, the inter-city roads tended to be one lane each way, with a third lane for trucks going up some of the hills. Since the decline of the SA railways (not so much a decline as destruction) most goods travel by road, and a long trip usually required one to stay behind a convoy of HGVs for a significant time).

  16. Devoncamel permalink
    July 27, 2021 9:23 pm

    Authoritarianism by stealth, that’s the obvious intention. You will live as you are told. What’s really worrying is the dearth of any political party to challenge this regressive madness.

  17. watersider permalink
    July 27, 2021 9:36 pm

    how much do ‘they’ propose charging all those bicylists who clutter up our roads?

  18. BLACK PEARL permalink
    July 27, 2021 9:49 pm

    Was recently checking vehicle charges for South Dakota
    Came up ave Gas price to April this year 48c litre, highest 78c litre and for one day only on 3rd May ( I think it was) 1c a litre.
    Non commercial vehicles registration free (road tax) below 9 years $70 a year, vehicles over 9 years drops to $50
    Also, apparently No State income tax, property tax, business rates and administration survives on a 4.5% sales tax.

  19. stevejay permalink
    July 27, 2021 10:09 pm

    It’s good news that Boris has decided to postpone the unpopular gas boiler plan. I expect the
    ‘pay by the mile’ scheme will bring yet more complaints, even mass demonstrations , if it’s enforced. £1.50 per mile has already been suggested. On retirement, I bought a very economical small (petrol) car, with £20 road tax and over 60 mpg on the motorway. I now average 3,000 miles a year, so I don’t feel that I’m going to wreck the planet.
    However, at this rate, a round trip to visit my daughter and only grandson would cost me £390. Even my daughter getting her son to school works out at £90 a week. There is no alternative transport.
    Has Boris thought of the cost of getting to work, as many people have no other choice, especially in rural areas? Haulage costs would be astronomical, with a serious affect on the cost of living. Perhaps it’s time Boris headed for the ‘long grass’?

  20. Graeme No.3 permalink
    July 28, 2021 9:15 am

    Here is your transport of the future.

  21. Coeur de Lion permalink
    July 29, 2021 9:19 am

    Typically leftie. How is this to be managed? Why can’t lefties manage anything? Will an Inspector Call to read your odometer? Salaried? 10,000 of them? Or voluntary reporting? Good luck with that. Or every car down to jalopy has a GPS recorder and auto reporting to a database? Oops, sold the car, oops it’s bust.
    Btw my 4 year Citroen Picasso diesel with AdBlu pays £20 a year Road Tax. Beat that you punters. So clean. I’m bubblewrapping a couple for my grandchildren. Has anyone heard what our blitheringly useless government intends about ICE IMPORTS? Deafeningly silence. WTO opinion? Anyone know? Ask your MP.

  22. steven budd permalink
    July 29, 2021 2:23 pm

    I think the MPs are so out of touch with the working people, they hit the poorest of the lot we already pay enough tax to pay for the roads, i wonder what they would do if everyone stopped driving who knows

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