FTA: Fuel duty freeze has not increased traffic levels
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has refuted the claim made by environmental group Greener Journeys that a freeze on fuel duty has increased traffic levels.
In a statement issued today, the FTA’s Head of UK Policy Christopher Snelling, argued that vehicle movements are “dictated by business needs, not taxation levels”.
Warming to his theme, Snelling said: “To suggest that a fuel duty level dictates how many vehicles on our roads is, quite frankly, ludicrous. It is the level of economic activity that drives traffic levels, not the level of tax paid on the fuel in their vehicle’s tank.
“This is because, for freight, as for most road users, travelling is not a choice you make dependent on how much it costs, but based on what you need to do. In the case of logistics, we have to supply the goods that Britain needs to run its shops, hospitals, factories and offices every day, and that doesn’t change just because the price goes up. All that does change is more small hauliers and van users go out of business as their profit margins disappear.”
Snelling continued: “The way to improve emissions levels and manage congestion is to create an alternative method for freight to be moved quickly and efficiently across the country. This means making rail freight a more appealing option through increased services levels and improved accessibility to the network, and boost road freight through the use of more environmentally-efficient vehicles, minimising the number that need to be on Britain’s roads. Simply charging more money to the users of our roads, most of whom who have alternative means of doing their daily work, achieves nothing other than placing a direct tax on Britain’s businesses.”
As evidence that taxation levels do not have a direct link to traffic, FTA pointed to Department for Transport (DfT) road traffic statistics that show that, in the last four years, while petrol prices paid by motorists have fluctuated wildly, traffic increases have tracked economic growth – with traffic increasing 7.4% to the economy’s 9.3%.
Snelling summed up the FTA line: “Fuel duty increases would hurt small businesses and those reliant on traveling by car, but in the end they won’t manage traffic levels – we need more intelligent interventions than this.”