A ten-year free pass for those who hand in an old car for scrapping is one of five solutions proposed today by the environmental association Zero to reduce emissions in the road sector.
In a statement released today, during European Mobility Week and less than a month before the 2024 State Budget is proposed, the association presents measures that would encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and calls on the government and parliament to include them in the next State Budget.
One of the measures would lead to the gradual scrapping of older vehicles, through a program that would include offering public transport passes for up to 10 years to participants. It would include metropolitan areas and inter-municipal communities and all existing means of public transport.
In the next budget, says Zero, it is important that there is a reinforcement of investment in the programs for new public transport services and the reduction of fares in the pass system.
Another Zero proposal to reduce emissions is to change tolls so that prices vary according to vehicle weight and not, as is currently the case, according to axle height and the total number of axles.
Because heavier vehicles “cause more substantial wear and tear on road surfaces, pose greater risks in the event of accidents (for pedestrians, for example), and have a larger manufacturing footprint,” justifies Zero.
In the statement, Zero explains that of the total Vehicle Tax (ISV), Circulation Tax (IUC) and Tax on Petroleum Products (ISP) accounted for 9.2% and 7.0% of tax revenue in 2021 and 2022, and that fuel consumption reached 11-year highs in the first six months of 2023.
And it reiterates that the pattern of economic growth is unsustainable, with greater growth in greenhouse gas emissions. Zero adds that greater incentives are needed to reduce emissions.
The association therefore proposes that the weight of the vehicle be included as a criterion in the ISV and IUC, recognizing that “the engine capacity criterion is outdated” because it doesn’t reflect environmental impacts well.
The association proposes that the fee should start at five euros for every kilo over 1,500 kilos, and increase to 10 euros per kilo for weights over 1,700 kilos.
“Many companies offer their employees a car and fuel vouchers instead of offering a pass, complemented by a monthly amount to be spent on electric and/or soft mobility services. Companies that do this cannot publicly claim to be concerned about sustainability while at the same time contributing to aggravating the country’s main problem in terms of its contribution to climate change,” Zero also said in the statement.
Proposing that as of 2028 companies should no longer be able to deduct expenses such as the purchase of vehicles that are not 100% electric, tolls, parking and fuel, in order to pay less tax, the environmental association wants a 25% cut in the deduction of this type of expense from the tax base in the next budget.
The association also suggests that at least 10% of ISP, ISV and IUC revenues should be earmarked for fleet electrification. And that support for scrapping old vehicles and electrification should focus on fleets of vehicles with high utilization rates.
And the state, he points out, “should start by setting an example by not buying vehicles that aren’t 100% electric from 2024 onwards”.
On Monday, also in a statement, Zero estimated that greenhouse gas emissions generated by road transport in Portugal increased by 6.2% compared to the pre-pandemic period, posing a threat to climate targets.