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'Pay as you drive' system should replace motor tax, says TD

Eamonn Maloney said an extra fuel surcharge would allow the government to axe the current vehicle tax altogether.

Image: modomatic via Flickr

THE VEHICLE TAX system should be scrapped and replaced with a ‘pay as you drive’ system where motorists are taxed solely on fuel usage, one TD has said.

Labour’s Eamonn Maloney said the current system is costly, encourages evasion, and is unfair because drivers pay the same tax regardless of how much they use their car. He added that a lump-sum payment is more difficult for many car owners to deal with in the current economic situation.

Under his proposal, a further surcharge would be added to the price of petrol and diesel; this would then be the only tax paid by all drivers. The Dublin South West TD said:

All local authorities are experiencing major shortages in their budgets and a not insignificant amount is due to shortages in the motor tax accounts. The present antiquated collection system gives rise to considerable evasion, is very costly to administer amd utilises valuable and scarce Garda resources.

More importantly it is essentially an unfair system in that car owners pay the same amount of tax for the same car classification regardless of the mileage or road usage.

Maloney added that his proposal would be “a fairer system for all vehicle owners”.

Conor Faughnan, a spokesman for AA Ireland, said there was “some merit” to the idea. “Currently, there is relatively high tax on the purchase and ownership of a car in Ireland relative to its usage,” he said.

But he said the scheme would not be simple to implement, adding that it “would negatively affect people in rural Ireland who are more car dependent.”

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Michael Freeman

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