We are told that all this tax has to be levied for a reason: to account for the impact of cars’ greenhouse gas emissions, now and in the future, and to pay for the construction and maintenance of our roads. But the numbers don’t stack up. In 2009-10, we spent £9.9 billion on the road network, and the emissions were deemed to have cost £3.5 billion. In short, more than £18 billion of that £31.5 billion in taxes – the equivalent of £293 per person – is profit for the Treasury.
Well, quite. As I pointed out when the Stern Review came out, the implication of the social cost of emissions is that fuel duty should be cut by 12 p a litre.
Which is one of the nice things about \”green taxation\”. It points us to an optimal level of tax, one that may well be lower than the one we\’re already paying.