The news that the Government is considering implementing a pay-per-mile road tax for heavy goods vehicles has led critics to believe that this is just a trial with the intention to roll it out to all motorists in the future, but this isn’t the case.

How would it work?

This new system would see tolls set up across Britain which charge drivers depending on how many miles they have driven and how high the emission level of their vehicle is in a bid to encourage people to use the roads efficiently.

In the document which has been released it states that this is not being considered with the aim of charging HGV drivers more money, but to encourage companies to think about how they are using the roads and to drive more economically with the hope that this will help to ease congestion.

In addition to this, it is also being seen as a fair way to charge both British and foreign HGVs as currently British drivers have been complaining about how foreign lorries are filled up for cheaper prices abroad and don’t contribute any money towards the maintenance of our roads despite driving many miles on them. This new system would mean that all HGVs are being charged the same depending on how economical their vehicle is and how many miles they are travelling.

This is because at the moment money is made from fuel duty which sees people paying 57.95p per litre of petrol or diesel, but if vehicles are being filled up elsewhere the Treasury is not getting this money from them which is why they are considering revising the current levy and trying something new instead.

The impact on vehicles

With the recent rise in the purchase of electric and hybrid cars, and a 31% decline in sales of diesel cars, it is unsurprising that the Government are looking for new ways to make money out of drivers which can be used to maintain the roads, as it will only be a matter of time before most people aren’t purchasing fuel at all so the £27.5 billion made from this per year is going to be significantly reduced.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan also backs a tax which hits those who are travelling in cars which emit high emissions, use the roads during the busiest times, and taking longer journeys as he would like to see less congestion on the roads as this will lead to cleaner air, especially in our larger cities. This is due to him wanting people to see driving as their last resort behind using public transport, walking, or cycling.

It is suggested that this system would be put in place using GPS style tracking satellites and automatic number plate recognition which would track mileage, and the emissions level of the vehicle being driven would also be taken into consideration with those that are less economical being charged more.

Implementing the system

So could HGVs be subjected to this new system simply to test it out for all road users? The Government insist that this is not the case and that this is being done because HGVs cause more wear and tear to the roads and release more emissions. However, with fuel duty predicted to decrease it does seem likely that a new way of raising money for road repairs, which cost approximately £120 million per year, would need to be found.

HGVs are already charged more to use the toll roads that are currently in place, paying £11 to use the M6 toll rather than the £5.90 that is costs a car for example, so this is not a new concept, but it could be that if a new levy which is brought in for them is successful that the Government wouldn’t look to roll it out to all road users.

What do you think about this new system being brought into place? Do you think it could be the future of paying road tax? Let us know in the comments below.

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