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

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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).

Fuel tax decline has cost 350,000 jobs

On the day the European Commission is set to propose an increase in the minimum level of road diesel taxation in Europe (1), a new study shows
that average road fuel taxes in Europe have declined by 10 cents per litre in real terms since 1999.  If taxes had been inflation-corrected and the revenues
used to lower labour taxes, 350,000 jobs would have been saved, oil imports would have been cut by €11 billion, and road transport CO2 emissions would
have been 6% lower, according to the report (2).