Traffic policy The clandestine increase in the car tax is an absurdity
The Federal Ministry of Transport has been run by a CSU minister for almost ten years. That is first of all a statement. However, if one looks at the political impulses emanating from this important ministry, one might wonder whether it was a good idea to entrust a house responsible for the entire transport infrastructure of the country to the representatives of a Bavarian regional party , Since then you can be celebrated for any bypass that is built from federal funds in Bavaria, but for a positive current account that is not enough.
The best example is Alexander Dobrindt. His assessment as Minister of Transport is bad. For one thing, Dobrindt’s name will forever be tied to the inefficient car toll that is unlikely to come in the face of the EU’s pressure on climate change. On the other hand, Dobrindt’s memory of his lack of will to explain the diesel scandal and the completely inadequate activities in developing a nationwide charging infrastructure for electric cars are remembered. Had Dobrindt shown the same eagerness with which he acts as a political sniper in the grand coalition, Germany could be much further ahead.
Although his successor Andreas Scheuer has recognized that it could be detrimental to his further career if he is perceived in the diesel affair as Büttel of the auto industry, which is why he puts at least a strict attitude to the day. On the central question, however, which steps are needed to reduce the burden on the climate by car traffic (and thus to achieve the self-imposed climate targets of the EU) also has Scheuer apparently neither a plan nor the will to take drastic measures.
This shows the political inactivity of the motor vehicle tax. The lack of public communication on this subject is in many ways an absurdity. Because here a tax is secretly increased significantly, without that there would ever be a discussion. At the same time, additional burdens on citizens have always been a sensitive issue. Anyone who remembers the dislocations that the CSU has just made to reassure the citizens of the car toll they had dumped would be relieved elsewhere, can only be surprised at the silence in the car tax.
It leads to the fact that until today hardly anyone knows that he has to pay significantly more tax from September, if he buys and approves a new car. And as an automatic result of the new emissions test. Because of the stricter, most vehicles will result in higher gas mileage and thus a higher CO₂ value – and this will affect the tax. It may be argued that these are relatively small amounts. But who so far has paid, for example, 100 euros car tax per year and in the future for a new car of the same type must pay 150 euros, for that is a tax increase of a whopping 50 percent.
The federal government simply sacks the extra money
And what does the minister responsible for traffic, Scheuer? Nothing. The Confederation simply sacks the extra money, and that’s no small change. Car expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer estimates that over the next 15 years, until all of today’s vehicle fleet has been replaced, the stricter limit values will add 2.5 billion euros per year to the federal treasury.
Quite apart from the fact that there is no political debate on whether and how this money could be earmarked for transport, Scheuer would have had to take advantage of the stricter test cycle to support the goal of this tightening with national own measures. Instead of simply allowing everything to continue as before, the federal government could, for example, have changed the method of calculating the tax, with the aim of relieving the owners of fuel-efficient small cars and proving gas-guzzlers with significantly higher rates.
Even better would have been a radical rearrangement. Experts like Dudenhöffer have long been proposing to completely abolish the car tax and instead tilt the tax advantage for diesel. That would give the state roughly the same revenue, but would make sure that the one who drives more (and thus more stressful) pays more. But that has been the misery of transport policy for many years: it just makes things happen.