Would "UK DriveTime" be a road revenue plan motorists would want to pay for?

In many parts of the world, public roads are funded - at least in part - through taxes applied to the fuels that power the vehicles that travel over those roads. For many decades, as most cars used the same fuel, this made a lot of sense. But the times are changing with biofuels and hydrogen and electric cars all moving away from the heavily-taxed petroleum fuels. And, as we saw with the Prius debacle yesterday, legislative rules do not always contain the foresight to figure out problems before they become real.
With all this in mind, Edmund King, Executive Director of the RAC Foundation, spoke at the British Chambers of Commerce Annual Conference in London yesterday. His proposal to replace the current road pricing system is called "UK DriveTime" and King said "the Government must start marketing road pricing as a solution to real problems, not just as another way of raising revenue from the road user."

Part of King's idea is simple branding. Instead of focusing on the boring idea of road pricing, the UK DriveTime product is a "package of solutions that motorists actually want."

Drivers would want to pay for UK DriveTime because it would provide them with:
  • reduced fuel duty
  • congestion avoidance systems
  • up-to-date parking information
  • cheaper insurance
  • e-call technology, which pinpoints the car and calls the emergency services in the event of an accident.
That second point would also help reduce fuel use, so I'd add cleaner environment to the list of benefits.

"Essential steps to tackle congestion include more flexible public transport, investment in better and safer roads, and a more intelligent use of the existing network," King said. "A voluntary scheme, like UKDriveTime, introduced over several years, would iron out problems with technology and allow motorists to get used to a very different way of paying for motoring. Cars are essential for daily life and will always be the most important means of transport. While pricing can influence the timing and routes of particular journeys, it must not be used to price people off the roads completely."

[Source: RAC Foundation]

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