Professor Antov: people would probably prefer road tax to car tax
Siim Kallas said at the road conference which was held yesterday that Estonia should start thinking about the establishment of road tax.
Professor of Tallinn University of Technology Dago Antov explained that at first it is necessary to collect data on the potential impact of such amendment. He is of the opinion that people would prefer most likely road tax to car tax.
Antov said in the interview given to radio program Vikerhommik that there have been some discussions about the establishment of road tax in Estonia, but no research has been conducted so far.
“If we want to make reasonable decisions on whether it is necessary or justified to change somehow the existing system which is based mainly on fuel excise duty, then we must collect reliable data regarding, first and foremost, the target group that will be most affected by such change,” said Antov.
“Today’s problem lies mostly in the fact that we cannot say how many cars there are in Estonia at the moment that are not using fuel and thus do not pay excise duty to us, but these cars are using Estonian roads,” he added.
He said that the Government Office has opened a call for tender in order to find out which methods for road taxation could be feasible and whether it makes sense to change the existing system.
Antov would not exclude the establishment of road tax, as well as car tax in Estonia.
“I guess that road tax is more likely to be established. However, in social terms it might be worth considering general pros and cons related to car tax. Road tax affects above all road usage, whereas car tax will shape the nature of our transportation system in the future. It will have an impact on the total number of cars in the future - in case of road tax, such scenario is less likely to occur,” he noted.
“I would not exclude either car or road tax. I want to say that car tax has also its advantages. Through car tax, we can in principle decide which cars we will buy in the future - whether these cars are more energy-efficient, more environmentally friendly, have a higher level of safety. It is one option that is less likely to be affected by road tax,” he added.
According to Antov, both options remain under discussion, but it is difficult to say today whether or which one of these will be implemented in the future.
Professor noted that as many drivers are not satisfied with the condition of roads, above all in the cities, then it is quite likely that most of them will be in favour of the establishment of road tax, provided that they know for which purpose the money will be used.
“Today’s problem lies in the fact that we pay fuel excise duty, but we cannot be sure which part will be used for road improvement and maintenance.”
Source: 19.03.2015 Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR).