New HGV toll system in the Czech Republic / Threat of heavy fines / German environment agency wants to raise toll charges
A new toll system has been in place on highways in the Czech Republic since 1 December 2019 (Photo: Panthermedia/Viktor Cap)
With effect from 1 December 2019, the Czech Republic introduced a new, satellite-assisted system for collecting the motorway toll charge for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). The operating company Czechtoll has issued a warning of long queues at sales points for the new on-board device, as around 145,000 trucks and coaches have not yet been registered. Contrary to widespread fears, there have so far not been any long queues at the borders to the Czech Republic. A spokesperson from the operator said truck drivers were behaving responsibly and were not unnecessarily holding up traffic in front of the registration points.

On the other hand, the situation could change relatively quickly, reports the German weekly magazine for transport and logistics Verkehrs-Rundschau, because it is not known when the mass of truck drivers that do not yet have the new on-board systems will begin to use the Czech motorways. The new HGV toll replaces the old microwave system. According to reports, the previous operator – Austrian firm Kapsch – intends to take legal action against the reallocation of the contract.

Anyone caught on the road without the on-board equipment is liable to a fine equivalent to nearly EUR 4,000. The toll applies to all vehicles with a permissible weight of more than 3.5 t. From the beginning of 2020, the toll will be extended to around 900 km of roads.
Calls for higher toll charge and energy tax in Germany
To meet the country’s climate targets in the field of transport, German environment agency Umweltbundesamt (UBA, Dessau; www.uba.de) has since recommended drastic cuts for Germany, including an increase in the price of fuel, a higher HGV toll charge and a speed limit. At the beginning of December 2019, the authority published a corresponding position paper outlining how Germany could attain its climate protection targets in the transport sector for 2030.

Accordingly, the environment agency recommends, among other things, raising the tax on diesel by more than 70 cents per litre up to 2030. Gasoline would then need to go up by around 47 cents. According to UBA calculations, the CO2 price could consequently rise to as much as EUR 205/t in the form of an energy tax. The coalition has chosen a different mode – it does not want to increase the energy taxes at all but would introduce a trading system with pollution certificates involving the participation of companies that sell fuel in Germany. The starting price of the certificates in 2021 would be EUR 10, which would mean an increase in the price of gasoline of around 3 cents.

With a view to increasing the volume of goods transported by rail instead of by road, the toll charge for HGVs would, in the opinion of the UBA, have to rise considerably. In future, the German environment agency wants to set about reducing CO2 emissions even further, look at ways to establish greenhouse gas-neutral transport in the long term, introduce an electric quota for newly registered cars, bring about further increases in HGV toll charges and energy taxes and, finally, subsidise electrically driven trucks through the construction of overhead cables on motorways.
19.12.2019 Plasteurope.com [244081-0]
Published on 19.12.2019
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