The car industry says European governments must work together to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The call comes after it emerged that almost all Western European countries now have some form of CO2-related taxation.
There are now 14 EU member states with some sort of environmental tax after France, Spain, Finland and Ireland introduced measures over the last year.
The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) welcomes the trend but calls for individual countries to work more closely, saying the “fragmentation” of taxing systems has a “distorting” effect on the market.
ACEA secretary general Ivan Hodac adds: “CO2-related taxation of cars and of alternative fuels are an important tool in shaping consumer demand towards fuel-efficient cars. Only a harmonised tax scheme, however, will give the necessary clear market signal which will be decisive in achieving the desired cuts in CO2 emissions.”
Current CO2-related tax schemes differ widely across Europe. Italy, for example, offers a one-off incentive when purchasing a new car, while the UK and France use CO2 emissions systematically for taxing privately owned and company cars.
Motorists were some of the biggest losers in Chancellor Alistair Darling’s Budget earlier this month. Some experts claim that nine out of ten cars will be affected by higher tax rates under the new regime.