More road taxes?

Yesterday Congress approved the first Law against Climate Change in Spain with which it seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 23%, promote clean energy and decarbonize the economy. However, Spain falls short when it comes to collecting environmental taxes.

As part of the reforms for the new European funds, the Government informed Brussels that it planned to gradually introduce tolls on highways and highways with heavy traffic from 2023. But given the rejection that this proposal has generated, it has now decided to go ahead. behind.

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The Government is reversing the tolls on the highways.  Photo: Getty Creative.

The Government is reversing the tolls on the highways. Photo: Getty Creative.

Green taxation

But what is green taxation? Environmental taxes are those destined to penalize behaviors that are harmful to the health of the planet. That is, the polluter pays. They are taxes levied on emissions, transport or plastics, for example.

The 27 countries of the Union received 330,000 million euros in green taxes. It is 5.9% of the total tax revenue of the European Union.

Spain, below the European average

The European Commission has been asking our country for years to increase environmental taxes. According to a report by the Bank of Spain, prepared with pre-pandemic data from Eurostat for 2019 – although there is a more updated edition, it is better to ignore the 2020 report due to its atypical condition -, Spain ranks as the fifth country that collects the least in environmental taxes in the EU. Green taxation represents only 1.77% of Spanish GDP, something well below the European Union average of 2.37%, according to data from two years ago.

Putting ourselves in the European Union average would increase tax revenues by almost 4,000 million euros, taking the 2019 data. We are not the only country with an improvement path: France and Germany are also below the average in this section.

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Car taxes

According to data from the Association of European Automobile and Truck Manufacturers (ACEA), Spaniards paid 30,800 million euros for all taxes related to the possession and use of their cars in 2019.

If compared to our community neighbors, it is little.

For example, Germany, which has 1.7 times the population of Spain, raised 3.3 times more. That is, 100,000 million. Like France, it has 1.4 times the population of Spain and the French paid 2.80 times more, which amounts to 83,000 million.

Italy has 1.27 times the Spanish population and Italians paid 2.4 times more (over 70,000 million).

If you look at what each vehicle owner pays in taxes, the same is also true.

According to the ACEA, in Spain owners pay 1,068 euros per year in taxes for their vehicle. The figure for Belgium is much higher: they pay 3,187 euros a year for their cars. The Germans pay 1,963 euros, the French 1,911 euros and the Italians 1,727 Although it is true that the per capita income is higher than the Spanish, in proportion to their income, the three pay more taxes for their cars than the Spanish.

The Greeks and the Portuguese pay, respectively, 1,264 and 1,528 euros a year plus all taxes and fees on their cars.

Fiscal policy is a key tool in the fight against climate change. It is urgent to design an environmental taxation that discourages less sustainable activities and, in turn, encourages green initiatives. But it is not about playing taxes without criteria. A resounding and planned tax reform is necessary.

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