Environmental organisations have long been concerned about the current rules relating to passenger transport VAT. The transport sector now accounts for the largest share of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions, and the growth of aviation emissions now outstrips almost all other GHG sources. Yet member states oversee a VAT system which, through voluntary derogations, further inflates aviation’s rapid growth while also distorting competition with less carbon-intensive transport modes.
Transport is Europe’s biggest climate problem, representing 27% of the bloc’s greenhouse gas emissions. In order to meet its climate targets and avoid the severe impacts of climate change, stronger EU action on transport emissions is needed and fiscal policy has a key role to play – especially in the aviation sector which enjoys fuel tax and VAT exemptions and copious amounts of state aid.
Sufficient accessible charging infrastructure is a key enabler for the accelerated uptake of electric cars. This briefing analyses the current and planned future roll-out of EV charging infrastructure in European Member States, based governments’ plans (National Policy Frameworks) submitted to the Commission as part of the implementation of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive.
In 2018 the EU will develop a budget for the 2021-2027 period. The current budget earmarks €100 billion for investment in transport infrastructure, as well as research and innovation. Nevertheless, emissions continue to rise from the sector and represent 27% of Europe’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Spending should prioritise addressing this worrying trend, investing in infrastructure that helps reduce such emissions. Furthermore, the most polluting means of transport could become new own resources for the EU budget, which would help to reduce emissions and fill the EU budget gap that will be left after the UK exits the EU. Read more in our responses to the European Commission’s open consultations on the EU budget.
In response to congestion and high local pollution cities are increasingly using vehicle access restrictions to limit the number of cars on their roads and ensure those which grossly pollute are not allowed in. Following the dieselgate emissions scandal (that exposed the failure of modern diesel vehicles to adequately control toxic fumes when operated on the road), there is a new focus on deploying Low Emission Zones and Diesel Bans. Today there are around 40 million grossly polluting diesel cars and vans on the EU’s roads but national vehicle approval authorities remain reluctant to mandate manufacturers to implement fixes.