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Charging per mile 'inevitable'

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A report from the RAC Foundation has proposed a "pay-as-you-go" system - where motorists will be charged for each mile they travel - to avoid future traffic congestion.

The report from the foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister called for a system of charging motorists per mile travelled, together with a cut in fuel duty and road tax.

Implementing the proposed system could mean a rise in cost of motoring for some drivers, prompting more people to look out for cheaper car insurances.

According to the report, road users and governments would face a series of problems in the future, including a 33% increase in traffic by 2025 and reduced spending on road infrastructure caused by financial and political constraints.

The launch of the report coincided with an Ipsos MORI report for the RAC Foundation, which showed more than half of motorists agreed that a per-mile, pay-as-you-go system across all roads would make them think about how much they drive.

Prof Glaister said: "Our poll shows that most people are instinctively opposed to road charging when they think it is an extra tax. But when the details are explained and they realise the benefits then the opposition falls away dramatically."

The report also highlighted the need to set up a governing body to develop and implement a long-term strategy for maintaining and enhancing the road network.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "We have no plans to introduce a charging programme for existing roads, which are publicly owned and have already been paid for by the taxpayer."

© Press Association 2010