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European Parliament misses opportunity to block multiple CO₂ taxation
Europe | Brussels

European Parliament misses opportunity to block multiple CO₂ taxation

17 Feb 2022 · Environment

After more than four years of negotiations, the Plenary of the European Parliament adopted its second reading position on the European Commission’s Eurovignette proposals. 

The European Parliament’s vote brings the Eurovignette rules one step closer to final adoption. They aim to introduce a new framework where tolling rates can be decided on the basis of vehicles’ CO2 performance, and where additional CO2 external charges can be levied in addition to those already in place for air pollution and noise. 

IRU remains deeply concerned that this new legal framework could add considerable additional costs for the commercial road transport sector. Furthermore, introducing the possibility to charge for CO2 externalities under Eurovignette rules in parallel with the proposal to include road transport in the emission trading system may result in multiple taxation for CO2 emissions and further increase those costs.

Raluca Marian, IRU EU Advocacy Director said: “It is disappointing that the European Parliament’s vote on the Eurovignette did not take into account the parallel discussions for charging CO2 emissions in the context of the extension of emission trading scheme to road. This is a missed opportunity to correct an inequality and avoid multiple CO2 taxes for commercial road transport which may ultimately lead to a higher cost of transport and of the goods transported.”

The only positive aspect is that the rules partially acknowledge the environmental benefits brought by collective road passenger transport by allowing Member States to exempt this type of green transport from this form of charging. However, the risk remains that a toll imposed by a Member State in future would bring an additional burden on the most environmentally-friendly and safest means of transport. 

IRU hopes that Parliament’s vote will put extra pressure on the EU to carefully consider the extension of the emission trading scheme to road and avoid multiple taxation for CO2 emissions. Furthermore, the variation of taxation based on carbon emissions should also add pressure on EU Member States to deliver their part, which is an adequate alternative fuel infrastructure network. Such an infrastructure is imperative not only for private cars and light vehicles, but also for heavy duty vehicles. 

“Co-legislators should understand that a commercial vehicle is a working tool which responds to the transport demand of society. Road transport companies are very interested to invest in low and zero-emission vehicles but they will not be able to do so unless they can refuel or charge on route. The Eurovignette reform, agreed now by the European Parliament and the Council, should be a final call for EU legislators to agree on a high level of ambition for the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure. It should also be a call for intelligent taxation and charging”.

Raluca Marian
IRU EU Advocacy Director