Is a uniform CO2 emission linked car taxation possible in the EU?

Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat and President of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), on the right, and Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Industry and Entrepreneurship.

Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat and President of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), on the right, and Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Industry and Entrepreneurship.

Motor vehicles have being for decades the easy target of many forms of taxation, especially in post WWII Western Europe. Taxes on acquisition, on ownership, on motoring, on licences are but a few. The initial idea behind, in the minds of politicians who supported the imposition of taxes on cars, was that private ownership of a car signified economic affluence for the owner. And they were absolutely right.

The problem is however that for decades now, car ownership has become a trivial issue, because everybody has one. Even this argument is trivial nowadays and governments in many European countries have changed their minds about taxation of cars, and now they try to link motor vehicles and alternative fuels taxes with the environment and more precisely with CO2 emissions. The problem is again that in many countries the new taxes on CO2 emissions are just added to the old ones, while only in a few EU member states the entire car tax burden is linked to the CO2 emission.

In total there is no clear cut EU policy on this issue. This is however another unfortunate outcome of the dreadful fact, that there is no an EU wide common policy on any kind of taxation. Income taxes, indirect taxation including TVA, special taxes on fuels and cars, taxes on wealth, tenancy or whatever differ widely within the EU. There are only some common upper or lower limits.

It is even more threatening that there are no indications at all, this is going to change some time in the foreseeable future. Taxation is considered a cherished political domain and every country, every political party, every politician, every small town major, every macro-economist and even every citizen, have their own ideas about taxation and they insist that theirs are the best and do not bargain. The European Union after fifty years of full scale function, covering today with its policies almost every detail of our daily lives, has failed to even touch the burning issue of harmonising taxation in the 27 member states. Huge discrepancies in tax legislation, factors and overall burden are tolerated, because there is not common EU policy on this burning issue.
What about the cars though? Europe today depends for its well-being on the production, exports and use of cars. In fact motor vehicles are the prime exportable items for core EU countries, like Germany, France, Sweden, Holland and others.

According to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), “the automotive sector contributes positively to the EU trade balance with a €114.1 billion surplus. This contribution is highly significant today as the EU economy as a whole struggles with a total trade deficit for goods of €152.8 billion. Some 11.6 million people – or 5.3% of the EU employed population – work in the sector. The 3.2 million jobs in automotive manufacturing represent 10.2% of EU’s manufacturing employment. Motor vehicles account for over €375 billion in tax contribution in the EU15. The sector is also a key driver of knowledge and innovation, representing Europe’s largest private contributor to R&D, with €26 billion invested annually”.

All that could be endangered, in the absence of a clear cut and uniform message from the European Union on car and alternative fuels taxation. In more detail the hot issues of the day are the possibilities to substitute all car and alternative fuel taxation, with ones linked to CO2 emissions. In some EU countries this is a reality. But the polyphony in this domain means, that there is no clear message to consumers within and without Europe. In short the huge automotive sector is without directions, because consumers receive no clear message or indications from their governments.

The car taxation cacophony in the EU 27 countries has to change soon however, given the huge size and the significance of the EU automotive industry, seen as a whole with its supportive manufacturing sectors. The European automotive industry itself advocates harmonised CO2-related taxation of cars and of alternative fuels in the EU. The issue is so urgent that European politicians have to attend to the matter, if they want to be seen as caring for the future of their voters. Directly or indirectly every EU citizen’s well-being depends on the health of the automotive industry.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Coronavirus: European standards for medical supplies made freely available to facilitate increase of production

Excise duties: Commission welcomes agreement on rules governing alcohol

The British are the most positive in Europe on the benefits of immigration

One million facing food shortages, nutrition crisis after Mozambique cyclones: UNICEF

Climate change is threatening Switzerland’s stunning scenery

UN chief ‘deeply saddened’ by Ethiopia plane crash which killed 157, including at least 21 UN workers

Back to the Basics: Primary Healthcare

These are the 10 most in-demand skills of 2019, according to LinkedIn

How tech is helping the agriculture sector curb carbon emissions

Can the US-Iran rapprochement change the world?

“TTIP can boost the European project”; the Sting reports live from EBS 2015 on TTIP

Catalysing change for gender equality, co-authored by two United Nations Under-Secretary Generals

Betazone: The Beauty of Inclusion

Security Council urges countries to factor child protection into conflict prevention efforts

Coronavirus Global Response: EIB and Commission pledge additional €4.9 billion

Amazon fires: Health Effects, Near and Far

How close is Eurozone to a new recession which may trigger formidable developments?

The European Brain Drain: a truth or a myth?

The UK remains in the EU until a new Brexit date is set

Austria: reforms will be necessary to uphold high well-being levels

Migration crisis update: lack of solidarity not only among EU leaders but also EU officials

$683 million appeal to deliver reproductive health services, where they’re most needed

Colombia: ‘Terrible trend’ of rights defenders killed, harassed; UN calls for ‘significant effort’ to tackle impunity

The real cost of addiction

Reimagining the future for skills: What we learned from young people

5 ways students can graduate fully qualified for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Eurobarometer: Not a single answer about what the Banking Union will cost to citizens

COP21 Breaking News_10 December: the final sprint of the Final Agreement Negotiations

How civil society can adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution

EU and Overseas Countries and Territories boost cooperation at annual Forum with €44 million

EU members commit to build an integrated gas market and finally cut dependency on Russia

Mine action is at ‘the nexus’ of peace, security and development: UN official

Coronavirus: truth and myth on personal risk perception

Terrorist content online: companies to be given just one hour to remove it

EU revengefully shows no mercy to Cameron by demanding a fast and sloppy Brexit now

Opponents of constitutional change in Burundi face torture and execution: UN investigators

Scientists have created biodegradable microneedles to fight eye disease

UN Member States overwhelmingly support end of US embargo against Cuba

Von der Leyen on EU long-term budget: our opportunity to make Europe fit for the future

Food safety: more transparency, better risk prevention

Discovering Europe: Free EU rail pass for 18 year olds

Mirrored classroom display highlights scale of massive education crisis

Failure to open accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia is a mistake

Why the evolution of blockchain reliability is critical to protecting your digital assets

ECB offers cheaper money despite reactions from Germany

Friday’s Daily Brief: UN chief in China, counter-terrorism, updates from Bangladesh, Mali and Mozambique

Mental health and suicide prevention – what can be done to increase access to mental health services in my local area?

Why Eurozone can afford spending for growth

Can cybersecurity offer value for money?

How to promote Primary Healthcare to the Young Healthcare Workforce?

Here’s what you need to know about the UK’s booming second-hand economy

Tsipras doesn’t seem to have learned his “almost Grexit” lesson and Greece faces again financial and political dead end

EU-Vietnam trade agreement enters into force

Venezuela migrant crisis begs a ‘coherent, predictable and harmonized’ response: UNHCR

OECD Secretary-General: coronavirus “war” demands joint action

Stress, overtime, disease, contribute to 2.8 million workers’ deaths per year, reports UN labour agency

Towards seamless patent registration and protection in 25 EU countries

A new dawn for Europe: Joint op-ed by President von der Leyen, President Michel and President Sassoli

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate Change needs to be demystified”, Anneli Jättenmäki Vice President of European Parliament underscores from Brussels

More Stings?



  1. I have learn a few excellent stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for
    revisiting. I surprise how so much attempt you place to make any such great
    informative web site.

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s