Petrol taxes are subsidising the trucking industry

Light petrol and diesel vehicles are paying far more than their share of transport taxes, says the car review website

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson says:

“Taxes on small vehicles pay nearly three quarters of the cost of building our highways. Yet these small vehicles get the least benefit from these highways. Effectively, the owners of petrol cars and light commercial vehicles are subsidising large trucks and buses.”

“About two thirds of the cost of building new highways goes to making them strong enough for large vehicles, which are mainly trucks. Excluding events such as storm damage, about 80% of all road maintenance costs are the result of the damage caused by trucks.”

“Yet, the trucking industry pays just 23% of the costs of building and maintaining these highways.”

“At a time when higher petrol prices are making life tough for owners of smaller vehicles, surely it’s time the trucking industry paid its fair share of the costs of building and maintaining our roads.”

Matthew-Wilson claims that ratepayers are also being ripped off.

“Many ratepayers are unaware that their rates cover 44% of the costs of local roads. By comparison, heavy vehicles such as trucks pay just 25% of the costs of building and maintaining these roads.”

Matthew-Wilson wants heavy vehicle Road User Charges to be gradually increased until they cover the full costs of heavy vehicles using our roads. 

He wants these increased Road User Charges to be spent on road safety improvements and rail.

“We need milk tankers and delivery trucks. We don’t need most of the truck and trailer units that roar down the state highways.”

Nearly a quarter of the road toll involves trucks. In 1980, accidents involving trucks made up 12% of the road toll. In 2016, accidents involving trucks made up 23% of the road toll. That’s one of the major reasons our road toll is going up and not down.”

The government’s own studies show that rail freight is at least twice as efficient as road freight. Moving freight by sea is also many times more efficient than trucks.

“Truck drivers are not the enemy here. The enemy is a cosy historical arrangement between the trucking industry and the government, that allows the trucking companies to grow rich at the taxpayers’ expense.”