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A positive lesson, a negative one, and one on European politics

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Opinion

By Jos Dings
T&E Director

We always felt the economic crisis, with its associated scarcity of public money, could bring about more than just misery. We thought it could be the trigger for positive reforms towards more sustainable transport. And there are now signs that things are slowly starting to move in this direction.

Fuel taxes down 10 cents in 10 years

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350 000 jobs ‘lost’ and chance to cut imports and emissions missedAverage fuel tax in Europe has fallen in real terms by €0.10 per litre since 1999, which has cost 350 000 jobs. These are the findings of a new study by T&E, which coincides with publication of the Commission’s proposals to revise the EU Energy Tax Directive. The proposed revision seeks to narrow the gap between Europe’s differing rates of diesel tax but leaves untouched the current ban on taxing aviation and shipping fuels.

A step in the right direction – but only on diesel tax

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Opinion - By Jos Dings
T&E DirectorAfter more than two years of dithering, the Commission has finally published its proposals for a revised energy tax directive. The message is mixed. There is a lot of progress in this directive, mainly to do with diesel taxes, but the big criticism is inconsistency. The Commission has made good progress in one area, but has totally failed to see that this can help other areas too.

EU floats idea of obligatory lorry charges by 2020

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The Commission has proposed ending the right of member states to exempt lorries from paying for infrastructure costs. The suggestion, which came as part of the white paper on transport planning for 2050, could impact on negotiations on the Eurovignette, as it would effectively make the Eurovignette directive obligatory.

Airlines reject the deal of the century

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T&E's Bill Hemmings writes in the Financial Times on behalf of the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA), 13 April 2011:

Sir, Jeff Smisek, chief executive of the newly merged United and Continental Airlines, balks at the thought of paying his share of the estimated €1.1bn cost of the aviation sector joining the European Union’s emissions trading scheme from next year (“United warns EU on carbon rule”, April 4).

Time to stop subsidising the most polluting form of transport

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Opinion By Jos Dings - T&E Director
Late last month, the World Trade Organisation told the USA and the EU what it thinks of US subsidies to Boeing (story, page 2). Last June, the WTO delivered a similar verdict on EU subsidies to Airbus. Of course both sides claim that the other’s subsidies are worse – we can’t yet check these claims because the WTO report won’t be published for another few weeks, but it is clear that Airbus received more taxpayer-backed ‘sweet’ loans, while Boeing received more direct subsidies, which are generally recognised as very distorting.

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