The New Eurovignette Directive: Fair Pricing or Road Funding?
In July 2003 the European Commission adopted its long-awaited proposal on charging heavy goods vehicles to use Europe's principal roads, amending the so-called 'Eurovignette' directive. T&E believes the proposal has serious flaws which could prevent it doing the job it is supposed to do.
As transport has grown over several decades, so have the problems it has created. These range from con- gestion and unnecessary journeys resulting from inefficient use of transport, to social and environmental impacts such as accident victims, pollution, noise problems, and emissions of climate-changing gases.
Over the past 10 years, a consensus has been growing among economic and environmental experts that many of transport’s problems stem from a false pricing system. When prices of anything are artificially high or low, distorted patterns of economic development emerge, which in turn create their own prob- lems. When prices of transport are artificially high or low, it causes costs to society.These costs should be paid by transport users but are currently paid by European taxpayers. This gives an unfair competitive advantage to those transport modes which do most damage.