UK pays most fuel tax in Europe but has shockingly poor roads.
High petrol and diesel prices earn the Treasury extra income from taxes. And, in the past, drivers could console themselves by knowing that whatever extra they paid would be spent on improving the roads.
But no more. Research published today by the RAC Foundation shows that only 25p of every £ you pay now gs into the highway budget. Amazingly, the Government spends less now on building and repairing roads than it did in 1975, even though it rakes in three times as much from fuel taxes.
UK drivers may the most fuel tax in Europe: £45bn a year. The average monthly fill-up bill for a family travelling an average mileage in a car capable of 40mpg is now £105. According to the RAC Foundation, the ‘green’ argument for the current level of tax charges dsn’t add up. Take the Government’s cost for carbon emissions, road safety and social costs, put them together and road users already pay more than their share of environmental costs.
And poor investment in roads means the time spent sitting in jams is increasing – it has risen by 4.4% since 2005 – which also creates unnecessary pollution.
What’s more, the average wait for a road to be resurfaced is now 65 years – far longer than their expected life span.
‘Motorists are suffering significant price increases for a declining level of service,’ said Stephen Glaister, Director of the RAC Foundation.
May 30, 2008