Road pricing must not be used as a ‘cash cow’, says IEA expert



Christopher Snowdon quoted in the Daily Mail

Government and Institutions

IEA referenced in The Times

Responding to research presented to the cross-party Transport Committee on replacing road taxes with a pay-per-mile road-pricing system, Professor Philip Booth, Senior Academic Fellow at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“It is absolutely vital that road pricing is not seen as a cash cow to replace lost revenue sources from fuel duty and vehicle excise duty. 

“The purpose of road pricing is to ensure that motorists pay the costs of road use – including the cost of congestion and, if appropriate, carbon emissions. These costs could be higher at congested times and may well be zero on much of the network for most of the day.  

“If the government is serious about changing the way it charges road users, it could drop the ban on the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles. Such vehicles would pay a road user charge related to their carbon emissions, which is a much more efficient way to deal with climate change than banning vehicles altogether. 

“The government could also eliminate subsidies to public transport. Although public transport may cause fewer negative externalities than motorists, if car users are to start paying the economic cost of road use, there is no need to subsidise public transport.

“Road pricing will have huge benefits – not least it will lead to a redistribution of traffic to less congested times of the day and therefore reduce congestion. It is now 57 years since road pricing was recommended by the Smeed Report – the government should get on with it”.


Notes to Editors

Contact: Emily Carver, Head of Media, 07715942731

Professor Philip Booth is available for further comment.

For further IEA reading on road pricing click here.

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