The EU has adopted new rules on road charging aimed at creating more efficient and sustainable road transport. It will phase out time-based vignettes for heavy-duty vehicles on the core Trans-European Network by 2030, in favour of a distance-based system. It will also introduce EU-wide rules to vary charges for heavy-duty vehicles based on their CO2 emissions. Moreover, after a four-year transition period, charging for air pollution (external costs), will become mandatory for heavy-duty vehicles, except in areas where it would create unintended traffic diversions.
Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said, “The new Directive is a step towards a modern EU road pricing system, serving to finance and maintain good quality infrastructure while reflecting ‘the polluter pays principle’ better. Road charging is an element in our strategy to reduce emissions from transport. The new rules call for differentiated infrastructure and user charges based on CO2, and introduce a mandatory external cost charge for heavy-duty vehicles to get consumers, operators, and manufacturers to shift towards cleaner options. It will also help mitigate other impacts of road transport that are costly to society, such as congestion.”
While the existing rules only cover lorries over 3.5 tonnes with the option to exempt lorries under 12 tonnes, they will be extended to all heavy and light vehicles, making sure charges are proportionate to their use and environmental performance depending on the type of vehicle.
Tolling systems will also have to include the option of daily vignettes and avoid discriminating against foreign drivers. Member States will have an option to apply an additional charge in congested and sensitive areas, with the revenues of these additional taxes being allocated to the development of sustainable transport alternatives.
Photo: Time-based road charging for trucks will be replaced by tolls across the Trans-European network by 2030.