Written evidence to the TSC Inquiry into Zero Emissions Vehicles and Road Pricing

Greener Transport Solutions welcomed the Transport Select Committee Inquiry into Zero Emissions Vehicles and Road Pricing for putting a spotlight on two key issues central to decarbonising transport:

  • We need to accelerate the shift to zero emissions vehicles. At the same time, some form of road pricing will be essential.  Firstly, to replace receipts from fuel duty and Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) as the vehicle fleet gets cleaner (annually £28bn is received in fuel duty; £6bn from VAT on fuel, £6.5bn from VED). Secondly, to reduce vehicle mileage.
  • There is no such thing as a zero emissions car. The manufacture and disposal of batteries, vehicles, electricity generation and civil engineering must also decarbonise. We need to shift to a more intensive use of a smaller fleet of vehicles and to encourage behaviour change.
  • Simply replacing ICEs risks locking in car dependency and increasing congestion. Road traffic will increase as motoring costs get cheaper unless we transition from fuel duty to a new way of paying for road use.  The challenge is how to introduce road pricing in a way that can be delivered politically, and which doesn’t disintentivise the switch to EVs.
  • We need a system that can levy tax on both ICEs and EVs fairly. It would be inequitable in the extreme if road infrastructure was financed from general taxation. This would mean non car owners, a high percentage on low income, cross subsidising motorists. There are also serious equity issues to be addressed with regards purchasing of EVs.