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The European Union wants countries in which road users are charged depending on time, to switch to a system where the amount paid would result from the distance traveled. For trucks and buses, such a system would be introduced from 2023. In turn, for vans at the end of 2027. The draft legislation was adopted yesterday in the first reading of the European Parliament.

The draft legislation is intended to help achieve the goals that the EU has set for itself in the field of reducing CO2 emissions in the transport sector. At the same time, the new regulations are also intended to ensure fairer charges for road users. The new rules would affect the fees that EU countries have already introduced or intend to introduce into European road network in the future.

The „polluter pays” principle

To ensure charging for vehicles depending on the actual consumption of roads and the pollution they generate, Member States should vary their rates according to CO2 emissions and vehicle types. This is to encourage wider use of environmentally friendly vehicles.

Starting from 2023, such a system would first cover heavy-duty vehicles and larger delivery vehicles (over 2.4 t). Light vehicles, i.e. vans and minibusses, would be charged in this way from 2027.

Noise is also a pollution

Moreover, from 2021, if a country charges heavy-duty trucks and larger suppliers for road use, it should also apply „external cost charges.” According to the project, this includes air pollution or noise caused by road traffic.

The draft new regulations also provide for the possibility of setting discounts, for example for frequent users of light vehicles in areas that are not densely populated and on the outskirts of cities.

Occasional road users will pay less

The project also contains provisions regarding the so-called occasional road users, i.e. drivers of passenger cars from other countries. To ensure that they are treated fairly, the project sets price limits for short-term vignettes. MEPs said that there should still be an option to pay for roads for one day and a week.

Before the new road toll system comes into force, the ministers of individual EU countries and the European Council must still issue their opinion on the matter.

Photo: WikimediaCommons/Ruben de Rijcke/CC BY-SA 3.0  

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