Infrastructure and external cost coverage of road freight transport on EU28 motorways

Internalising the infrastructure and external costs of transport is an important objective of the European Commission’s transport policy. In road freight transport, the Eurovignette Directive is one of its main instruments to stimulate Member States to implement the ‘polluter-pays’ and ‘user-pays’ principles in their transport taxes and charges, in order to ensure that these national instruments better reflect the social costs of transport. In light of the planned revision of the Eurovignette Directive, IRU commissioned CE Delft to examine to what extent the infrastructure and external costs of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and vans on EU28 motorways in 2013 are covered by the revenue from the taxes and charges related to the kilometres driven by these vehicles on these roads.

In this study all infrastructure costs of EU28 motorways that can be allocated to HGVs and vans are considered, as well as the external costs (accidents, air pollution, climate change, noise, congestion and upstream emissions) that are related to the kilometres driven by these vehicles on these roads. Based on state-of-the-art methodologies the size of all these costs is estimated. Furthermore, data has been collected on the vehicle taxes, infrastructure charges and fuel taxes levied on these vehicles, again as far as they are related to the kilometres driven on motorways.

The study shows that the revenue form current taxes and charges do cover the cost categories that are included in the current Eurovignette Directive (infrastructure costs, air pollution and noise). The revenue exceeds these costs by 28% for HGVs and 42% for vans. However, the revenue from current taxes and charges do not completely cover all infrastructure and external costs related to kilometres driven on EU28 motorways. The costs exceed the revenue by about 30% for HGVs and 40% for vans.