Burden of Taxation on Transport

From 2016 to 2017

The Europe 2020 strategy, the Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050 (COM (2011) 0112), and the 2011 White Paper on Transport all make clear that the transport sector faces huge challenges.  One of these challenges is the possible unfair treatment of some transport modes in terms of unequal tax levels and unequal internalization of external costs.

The aim of this study was to provide information that could be used for future considerations of relevant measures and impact assessments in the area of taxation (in the broadest sense) on transport.

The project team:

  • helped policy makers analyse the burden of taxation and charges on different modes of transport in order to better compare the framework conditions in which various transport modes operate.
  • analysed subsidies for specific transport operations or modes, which can be equally important when comparing the framework conditions across modes.
  • gathered information on relevant transport taxes and charges as well as subsidies for transport activity on selected routes for different modes and means of transport.
  •  made the collected information comparable across modes by developing relevant indicators and present them in a clear manner.

TML, in cooperation with CE DELFT, focused on the development of the methodology (defining transport operations and corridor indicators, developing accounting methodology for taxes, charges, subsidies, and internal costs) and the collection of relevant taxes, charges and subsidies.  

The study shows that the fiscal burden on transport varies widely across the corridors, a reflection mainly of the large differences in taxes and charges (for certain transport modes) among European member states. A comparison of the fiscal burden of the various modes shows that for both passenger and freight transport the modes with the highest external costs (road and air) also have the highest fiscal burden.


From 2016 to 2017


Europese Commission, DG MOVE


CE Delft (project leader), HERRY, BME, TCI Röhling

Our team

Tim Breemersch, Eef Delhaye, Sebastian Vanderlinden
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