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Greening transport

Road-use pricing

 

The OECD and the International Transport Forum (ITF) is co-operating on work to assess the impacts of road pricing schemes for heavy goods vehicles.

The 2013 ITF report "Road Haulage Charges and Taxes" updates the database on heavy goods vehicle charges and taxes in Europe, with figures for 2012 on taxes and charges on vehicles, fuel and road use, including relevant information on rebates and exemptions.

Information on the pricing systems in place in different OECD countries can be found in the OECD Database on instruments used for environmental policy.

Below a description is given of the nation-wide road pricing systems that are in use in OECD countries in relation to heavy goods vehicles.

Austria_small In Austria, the following rates are in use on certain highways, for vehicles weighing more than 3,500 kg:

• Vehicles with 2 axles, Euro class 0 – III: EUR 0.18 per km driven
• Vehicles with 2 axles, Euro class IV and V: EUR 0.15 per km driven
• Vehicles with 2 axles, Euro class VI and higher: EUR 0.14 per km driven
• Vehicles with 3 axles, Euro class 0 – III: EUR 0.25 per km driven
• Vehicles with 3 axles, Euro class IV and V: EUR 0.22 per km driven
• Vehicles with 3 axles, Euro class VI and higher: EUR 0.20 per km driven
• Vehicles with 4 or more axles, Euro class 0 - III: EUR 0.37 per km driven
• Vehicles with 4 or more axles, Euro class IV and V: EUR 0.32 per km driven
• Vehicles with 4 or more axles, Euro class VI and higher: EUR 0.30 per km driven.

 

In the Czech Republic, the following rates are used most of the time for trucks weighing more than 3,500 kg on certain highways:

• Vehicles with 2 axles, Euro class 0 – II: EUR 0.14 per km driven
• Vehicles with 2 axles, Euro class III and IV: EUR 0.11 per km driven
• Vehicles with 2 axles, Euro class V and higher: EUR 0.07 per km driven
• Vehicles with 3 axles, Euro class 0 – II: EUR 0.23 per km driven
• Vehicles with 3 axles, Euro class III and IV: EUR 0.18 per km driven
• Vehicles with 3 axles, Euro class V and higher: EUR 0.12 per km driven
• Vehicles with 4 or more axles, Euro class 0 - II: EUR 0.34 per km driven
• Vehicles with 4 or more axles, Euro class III and IV: EUR 0.26 per km driven
• Vehicles with 4 or more axles, Euro class V and higher: EUR 0.17 per km driven.

The rates are about 30% higher than indicated between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Fridays, and they are about 30% lower than indicated on some main roads that are not classified as highways.

 

In Germany, the following rates are in use on certain highways, for vehicles with permitted weight of more than 12,000 kg:

• Vehicles with max. 3 axles, Euro class 0 – II: EUR 0.27 per km driven
• Vehicles with max. 3 axles, Euro class III, or II with particle abatement: EUR 0.19 per km driven
• Vehicles with max. 3 axles, Euro class IV, or III with particle abatement: EUR 0.17 per km driven
• Vehicles with max. 3 axles, Euro class V or higher: EUR 0.14 per km driven
• Vehicles with 4 or more axles, Euro class 0 – II: EUR 0.29 per km driven
• Vehicles with 4 or more axles, Euro class III, or II with particle abatement: EUR 0.20 per km driven
• Vehicles with 4 or more axles, Euro class IV, or III with particle abatement: EUR 0.18 per km driven
• Vehicles with 4 or more axles, Euro class V or higher: EUR 0.16 per km driven.

 

In Switzerland, the following rates are in use on all roads, i.e., not only on highways:

• Vehicles in Euro class 0 – I: EUR 0.0233 per km driven, multiplied by the maximum permitted vehicle weight
• Vehicles in Euro class II: EUR 0.0204 per km driven, multiplied by the maximum permitted vehicle weight
• Vehicles in Euro class III and higher: EUR 0.0233 per km driven, multiplied by the maximum permitted vehicle weight

 

There are important differences in the systems used. One issue is which roads are covered? All roads versus selected roads will have implications for the registration systems that each vehicle will have to be equipped with, and to which the charging system causes traffic to be diverted to roads where no charging takes place.

Another dimension is the extent to which the systems applied takes differences in traffic conditions into account. At present, only the Czech system does so – with higher tax rates on Friday afternoons and evenings, when the marginal social costs of an extra vehicle on the roads can be particularly large.

All the four systems described above include differentiation in road use charges according to the environmental standard of the vehicles concerned. The exact design of this differentiation differs, though – and it can be quite important. The Swiss system – which was the first to be introduced – includes no differentiation across vehicles with higher classes than Euro III. The Austrian system has changes in charges between Euro III and Euro IV, and between Euro V and Euro VI. The Czech and the German systems have various distinctions between vehicles in classes up to Euro IV, but the a distinction between Euro IV and Euro V – with a quite clear difference in the rates in the Czech Republic.

The only difference in emissions between Euro IV and Euro V for heavy goods vehicles is in the upper limit on NOx emissions:
3.5 vs. 2 gram per km driven, respectively. For a vehicle with 3 axles, driving on a highway, not Friday, the Czech Republic rates are (more accurately that shown above) EUR 0.1809 and EUR 0.1159 per km for Euro IV and Euro V vehicles, respectively – a difference of EUR 0.065 per km. With 1.5 gram NOx per km as the only difference in emission limits between the two categories, each gram of NOx emissions is implicitly valued at EUR 0.043, meaning that each kg of NOx is implicitly valued at EUR 43 – which is very high compared to the cost of other NOx abatement policy instruments applied in OECD countries.

In Germany, the rate difference per km for Euro IV and Euro V vehicles in EUR 0.02. Making a similar calculation as for the Czech Republic, the implicit price per kg NOx due to this rate differentiation is EUR 13 – which also is quite high, compared to the cost of other policy instruments used to address NOx emissions. For example, the tax rate in the refunded Swedish NOx tax is EUR 5.5 per kg NOx (see The Swedish Tax on Nitrogen Oxide Emissions: Lessons in Environmental Policy Reform (Environment Policy Paper, 2013).

 

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