Yes, obviously this will happen

Rishi Sunak is considering plans to charge motorists for using Britain’s roads amid concerns over a £40 billion tax shortfall created by the switch to electric cars.

A Treasury paper on a new national road pricing scheme has been presented to the chancellor.

Leads to an interesting thought really. Currently people keep touting how electric cars are cheaper. Or are about to be, summat. They’re not going to be when they’ve got to carry that £40 billion tax bill, are they?

33 thoughts on “Yes, obviously this will happen”

  1. Salami slice by slice, they won’t be happy until there are no cars allowed except in the Zil lanes. We will still be allowed to pay the tax though.

    And yes, people who put their faith in low-cost electrics should remember LPG and diesel.

  2. Given the limited range of electric cars, when the ‘switch’ takes place there won’t be much road use.

    Given the lack of any understanding of ‘the science’ on display during the recent ‘crisis’, there is little wonder they don’t understand that the range of battery powered cars is governed by physics as is electricity generation & distribution. Physics also is at the root of so-called global warming/climate change so they won’t know the physics contradicts the lies being told.

    Batteries are containers. What you can get into a container is determined by its size… you can’t get a quart into a pint pot.

  3. To replace the energy currently provided by motor fuels with electricity, will require about 50% to 60% extra electricity generation. Where will this and the infrastructure to deliver it come from a d at what cost. Physics.

  4. We’re already charged to use the roads.
    The vehicle is taxed to allow it on the public highway, and fuel is taxed to charge you per mile of usage.

  5. Reminds me of a Daily Mash headline from the last time this particular kite was flown.

    “Government to make it even more expensive to get to that job you hate.”

  6. Someone from one of the car magazines crunched the numbers on electric vs petrol Mini. You have to do something like a 20 mile commute every day (for the lease period) to save money on the extra cost.

    Teslas make no sense at all. £45K for a car that looks like a Hyundai? What’s the point? The only reason for spending £45K on a car is to pick up girls, and you want a fanny magnet like a BMW, Maserati or Alfa Romeo. Hell, even a Toyota GT86 will get you tops and fingers.

    Personally, I’m not going to be an early adopter for something costing £30K with slender benefits. I want to know that the car is still going to be running a decade later and without much trouble like petrol cars.

  7. JuliaM,

    The German government went through this wheeze. It was a classic political boondoggle and a tremendous feat of brilliant Merkelian genius that wouldn’t be out of place in your proverbial third-world shithole:

    1) give it as a pet project to the idiot promoting road charging to keep them out of the way
    2) set up lots of expensive contracts with suppliers and consultants friendly with the government
    3) insist on something unworkable that will probably fall foul of European law (reduction in existing road taxes for German-registered cars)
    4) ensure it’s at the bottom of the parliamentary agenda, runs out of time, and a new election occurs before any legislation can be passed
    5) let various European authorities say it can’t happen
    6) quietly drop it
    7) pay the favoured consultants and contractors
    8) Watch the political career of the idiot who wanted road charging crash and burn in obscurity
    9) pay lots of lawyers to fend off the less-favoured consultants and contractors
    10) Watch less-favoured consultants and contractors run out of money for legal bills before the government does

    I probably forgot a few steps.

  8. I always thought that the same thing applied to public transport too. Back in the New Labour days when we had John Prescott constantly on at us to get out of our cars and onto buses. Public transport was being subsidised, once we started using them instead of driving, the missing fuel duty would have to be added to the fares. You would have to take out a second mortgage just to afford the ride to work.

  9. ‘plans to charge motorists for using Britain’s roads’

    Ahh, and what will be done with RoI transshipping thru the Jolly Old?

    You can’t very well exempt them, can you?

    War seems the only solution.

  10. Remember when cars were going to be taxed on their CO2 emissions? And low emissions ones would get very low/zero tax? That didn’t last long did it? The tax revenue fell as people bought smaller engined cars, and manufacturers made more efficient engines. And guess what, the system was changed again so every car had to pay far more tax, even if it was a very small one.

    Its the classic bait and switch technique the State uses all the time. Reduce tax on something to get people to do it, then once they have ramp the rates back up again and catch all that lovely revenue.

    Personally I’ve worked out that under the current car taxation class system in 2022 I will be able to buy a second hand 4 litre engined vehicle and pay only £140/yr road tax. I’ve going to drive around at high speeds producing as much CO2 as I can.

  11. “The infrastructure to allow this to happen will cost..?”

    One of the problems with road pricing is that you aren’t going to be able to do everywhere. You can do motorways and major A roads quite easily, I think, because of the small numbers of entrances and exits, but when you do that, people are going to figure out the non-charge workarounds. That “avoid tolls” button on your satnav will tell you that it’s only 3 minutes longer on the country road from Swindon to Hungerford than using the M4, or that going to the NEC via the Fosse Way is only 13 minutes longer than the M5. It’ll be like the problem with Severn Bridge tolls where they put them only one side (and doubled them) and the effect was that haulage was more likely to drive to Gloucester and then down to Lydney.

  12. I predict a roaring trade in GPS jammers.
    Pop one in the glove box, and no log of where you’ve been or how many miles you owe.

  13. @ JuliaM

    “2) set up lots of expensive contracts with suppliers and consultants friendly with the government”

    There may be a glimmer of hope:

    “Members went against the recommendation of the council’s environment panel and voted unanimously not to join. The feeling was that no one was clear what impact such a contract would have, with the potential disadvantages outweighing the benefits”

  14. I presume this has some connection to (a) We won’t be raking in £32+bn in tax on petrol and diesel when ICE vehicles are banned, and (b) We don’t have any way of splitting everyone’s electricity bills between usage for cars and usage for domestic, so that we can lump £32+bn of extra tax on the car use.

    My plan? Don’t ban ICE vehicles. Don’t subsidise electric vehicles. Watch the problem vanish…..

    (Sorry, Carrie)

  15. Ok, hands up anyone who is surprised

    Having been stuffed over euro6 diesels the great unwashed is very unimpressed with government attempts to get us all to buy ludicrously expensive fire hazards on wheels that don’t go far enough and have no charging infrastructure

    I think I’ll wait a couple of decades

  16. What the virtual signalling idiots buying Teslas etc. don’t realise is that Carrie and her chums don’t want anyone driving a car of any sort. The moonbat did an article recently where he explained that even electric cars have emissions from tyre rubber, and brake dust. Other Green campaigners are pointing out that they still take the same road space, and oh haven’t the new Low Traffic Neighbourhoods been wonderful. And wouldn’t we all be more healthy anyway if we cycled everywhere.

    These people are serious, they’ve got a whole country virtually under house arrest, and there’s no-one you can vote for who thinks any differently. If we don’t want this we might have to shoot them.

  17. Ian Reid,

    “These people are serious, they’ve got a whole country virtually under house arrest, and there’s no-one you can vote for who thinks any differently. If we don’t want this we might have to shoot them.”

    The only way forward is joining Reform or the Libertarian Party and helping to get people on the ballot in marginal seats and grabbing enough Conservative votes that they lose seats and are forced to change. Or, maybe, you gain electoral power, but that’s unlikely.

    That’s roughly speaking how UKIP did it (although they wasted money fighting in safe seats).

  18. Anyone didn’t see this coming is desperately in need of the bridge I’m selling. One little old lady owner. Never used in the rain.

  19. Bloke in North Dorset


    I remember us discussing this outcome on here a very long time ago, perhaps under the Brown terror.

    Someone pointed out that at some point tax receipts would fall off a cliff as the technology and incentives took off and that the Treasury would have to do something, leading to a lot of very smug motorists would be most pissed off.

    The only thing in doubt was the timescales.

  20. We’re already charged to use the roads.
    The vehicle is taxed to allow it on the public highway, and fuel is taxed to charge you per mile of usage.

    As others have already pointed out, it’s hard to tax electricity solely for vehicular use. My plug-in hybrid costs me 3x as much to operate on petrol compared to domestic electricity (charging from roadside points is now more expensive (per mile) than petrol), the difference being almost entirely due to fuel duty.

    If every car had a fool-proof odometer, I’d have no great objection to abolishing fuel duty and instituting a mileage charge that could be assessed at an annual inspection (MoT in the UK). But what gummint wants is to monitor every mile you drive, 24 hrs a day, using ANPR or something similar. No thanks.

  21. There’s another Camelopardalis in the room.

    At some point of penetration into the market by wind/solar (I estimate 30%), the business case for conventional electricity generation gets weak. You can use wind/solar for power, as long as you have conventional backup. And wind/solar DON’T PAY FOR IT. When the business case for conventional power gets weak, wind/solar will have to pay for it. They can’t.

    Wind/solar can never be more than supplemental. Period.

    Okay, okay. If you go neolithic, it’ll be fine. But if you do, you will be invaded by Denmark or Norway.

  22. This is why they need to stop trying to micro-manage everything and just let the market do its thing.

    New Zealand has “Road User Charges”, these are currently applied to diesels only, but could be for all cars. They are payable up front and you can buy them in blocks of 1,000km. You get a sticker on your windscreen to show how many km’s you have paid up to on your car’s odometer. The more you drive, the more you pay, with the cost going to the roading network. Heavier vehicles pay more as they do more damage to the roads. In exchange diesel prices are much cheaper than petrol as the diesel price excludes money towards road maintenance (so sort of like red diesel in the UK).

    So implement something like this across all vehicles on the road, whether diesel, electric, petrol or whatever else they come up with. Then take off the road cost portion of tax from current fuels, slap a pollution levy on them depending on how polluting they are and wait for people to buy whatever is most suitable for them.

    It isn’t hard, the tech is there and RUC stickers are checked at least annually during our MOT equivalent (and often in between when you get stopped at the roadside for breath tests etc). There is some fraud with people fitting kill switches to their odometers, but this is really quite minor in the scheme of things.

    You could go all fancy with GPS monitoring and time of use charging, but that requires tech that isn’t here. So just create a level playing field using what is already available.

  23. Wasn’t part of the idea behind Galileo satellite systems being more accurate and all cars have GPS trackers that they could bring in a per mile charging scheme. Haven’t heard that idea in a long while

  24. I speak out of ignorance. Bjorn Lomborg tells us that fuel subsidies cost governments world wide close to a trillion a year. Does the UK not subsidise petrol refiners at all? If it does, would that be an offset, or is 40 extremely large nett of subsidies?

  25. Not sure where the trillion comes from . There are two numbers normally used here, 500 billion and 5 trillion.

    The $500 billion is real subsidies. Largely in places like Russia, Iran, Indonesia. Real subsidies making petrol or heating oil etc cheaper for consumers. Bad idea, shouldn’t happen. But it’s other people spending their own money. Doesn’t happen in the rich world. Certainly not in UK

    The $5 trillion is bolloxy. This is including the amount that climate peeps think should be paid but isn’t and so on. An entirely made up number. It’s not obvious that this even happens in the UK.

  26. The antis classify standard business tax deductions as ‘subsidies.’

    They proudly display their accounting ignorance.

  27. They claim domestic gas is ‘subsidised’ in the UK by being subject to a lower rate of VAT. So being taxed less than the top rate is a ‘subsidy’. Alice-in-Wonderland economics.

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