Eleven EU countries lost more than 10 billion euros in taxes in 2016 alone due to the gap between the amount of CO2 that cars emit on the road compared to their performance in laboratory tests.
A new report to be published tomorrow by the Greens / European Free Alliance (EFA) group in the European Parliament, seen by BusinessGreen, has found that tax collections in at least 11 European countries would have been much higher if emissions tests had forced on automakers to reveal more accurate pollution figures.
Vehicle taxes across much of the bloc vary based on emissions as part of an effort to incentivize motorists to switch to cleaner models. As such, the report argues, models that failed to deliver on promised emissions savings were able to qualify for lower tax bands than they deserved.
Between 2010 and 2016, the fiscal deficit in the 11 EU countries analyzed - Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom - that resulted from the test results misleading amounted to € 40-50 billion, with € 10 billion lost in 2016 alone.
The fiscal deficit is mainly due to the testing procedures used to regulate the pollution levels of passenger cars, the report concludes.
Until September 2017, cars sold in the EU had to undergo the New European Driving Circuit (NEDC) type approval tests, carried out under laboratory conditions.
But following a major scandal in 2015 in which German automaker VW was found to have equipped cars with defeat devices to cheat tests, and other cars were found to have much higher real-world emissions than official tests suggested. , the EU was forced to move to a more stringent test procedure known as the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP).
It now appears that the laxer test regime that was in place before 2017 has not only resulted in higher levels of air pollution in many European cities than expected, but has also cost EU countries billions of dollars in taxes. lost.
Research suggests that the UK was one of the biggest losers, with tax losses of 8 trillion euros between 2010 and 2016, based on the Vehicle Tax (VED) that classified cars based on official CO2 data.
"Polluter pays taxation has the potential to prepare for the transition to a low carbon economy," said Green Party MP Molly Scott Cato. “It can encourage a shift from cars to public transportation and active travel. Instead, the surprising loss of potential tax revenue from automobiles has been accompanied by an air pollution crisis in our cities and increased CO2 emissions causing climate breakdown. "
He called on the European Commission and national governments to review the way vehicles are taxed across the EU, to encourage the flourishing of a cleaner engine. The report warns that although the switch to the WLTP framework will reduce the emissions gap, "it will not solve fundamental problems" and a fiscal deficit "will remain substantial."
"While the dieselgate exposed how European automakers relentlessly used software to cheat diesel emissions in laboratory tests, the flaw also lies in legislative inaction by the EU, national governments and their authorities," Cato said.
The European Commission did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.
The news follows signs that UK new car CO2 emissions are rising once again for the first time in decades as drivers affected by the 'dieselgate' scandal turn to higher-emitting petrol cars .
Original article (in English)