Today’s €2.93 billion settlement fine on truckmakers is a record in absolute terms, but it is still possible that the industry stands to gain from the cartel, sustainable transport group Transport & Environment has said.
By Jos Dings, T&E executive directorAmerica is no green saint. An American emits more than twice the carbon of a European. Per head Americans also use more than twice as much oil for transport as Europeans do – mostly because five Americans own as many vehicles as eight Europeans and many of their vehicles don’t even fit in European garages. They send more than three times as much household waste to landfills. And so on.
Belgium this week introduces a distanced-based truck toll as a new study reveals that trucks cost society €143 billion a year across the EU. The independent study for green transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) also found that trucks currently cover only 30% of these costs through taxation and charges. As the EU revises its road charging directive, T&E said Belgium’s road charging scheme is a fair way to ensure that trucks pay for a bigger share of the damage they cause.
Road charging for lorries has been introduced in Russia, with environmental groups hoping it will bring a shift in freight from road to rail. The measure is intended primarily to raise money to repair roads; any environmental benefits look like being accidental.
T&E commissioned a study to monetise the external costs of trucks and to determine whether truck users are now covering a larger share of their external costs than in 2009 – when the first Are Trucks Taking Their Toll? report was published. The report finds that while there has been progress, a lot remains to be done.
Switzerland has voted in favour of building a second road tunnel through the Gotthard alpine mountain. In a referendum in late February, the Swiss electorate voted by 57% to 43% to approve a second road tunnel, despite it appearing to contradict the Swiss constitution that commits the country to shifting goods transport from road to rail. The vote has been widely seen as part of a political swing to the right, which has been accompanied by a weakening of public willingness to support environmental measures.