Motoring taxes would have to triple to cover costs to society, says new think tank report

Motoring taxes fail to cover two-thirds of the costs imposed on society by motor vehicle use, according to a new report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), which calls for an end to delays in fuel duty increases.

Rejecting any notion of a 'war on the motorist', the report says motorists pay only 6p/km in fuel duty and VAT, but the cost of congestion, death/serious injury, air pollution, reduced public health, noise and CO2 emissions from car use is over 15p/km, or around £50 billion per year.

The report says this estimate doesn't include costs that are difficult to quantify such as "severance of communities, degradation of landscape and the opportunity cost of land".

The IPPR urges the Government to "make every effort to avoid further delays in fuel duty increases", which will cost the exchequer £14bn in total over the five years from 2011-12.

The think tank also points out that, while taxes are high, overall motoring costs have fallen by 5% since 1997 if the cost of buying cars, insurance and repair costs are included.

The report also highlights that two-thirds of the poorest 10% of households have no car and rely on public transport, bus fares rising 69% since 2001, compared to the 5% real terms decrease in motoring costs since 1997.