EU Proposes Satellite Tracked Road Tax
The Daily Express reported this week that “European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc wants a standardised driving tax across all EU member states. Vehicle owners would be charged for every mile driven under a high-tech scheme based on satellite-tracking systems.”
In the report Ms Bulc argues that “Road users would only pay for the actual mileage and expenses caused, such as the environment. That would be fair.”
Regardless of the reasonable tone being adopted by the European Transport Commissioner, it ought to be realised that taxing drivers based on the distance they drive and the environmental expense incurred is already happening, without the need for intrusive satellite monitoring of vehicles.
Such taxation is currently achieved through fuel duties imposed at the pump, which of themselves ‘fairly’ levy taxes based on consumption which, in turn, is based on distance travelled and associated environmental impact.
…the only possible remaining reason for wanting to track vehicles by satellite has nothing to do with tax but further intrusion of government into private life…
Since taxation based on distance driven has already been achieved for many years we ought to question the suggestion of satellite tracking very closely. Using it for tax seems like overkill given the simplicity and reliability of the fuel duty approach. It may be suggested, then, that the only possible remaining reason for wanting to track vehicles by satellite has nothing to do with tax but further intrusion of government into private life, imposed by stealth under the guise of ‘fair tax’. Let’s not go there.
While reported objections from motorist groups focus on the additional costs to drivers, rather than erosion of privacy, it should be noted that progress needs to be made in educating drivers about the significant threat to civil liberties which is contained within this EU proposal. The routine monitoring of citizen’s movements falls well outside the remit of any government agency, the European Transport Commissioner is no exception, however much she may like to be.