Despite the taxes they have heavy vehicles, these are not enough to repair the damage that these vehicles cause on the roads. Damage that also includes accidents, emissions and traffic congestion.
New Zealand, Switzerland and some other European countries have already introduced a charging system based on the mass and distance of these vehicles.
A B-Double or road train (a typical very long trailer in Australia) can cause, per kilometer traveled, 20,000 times the road wear caused by a family car. In countries like Australia, taxes on these types of vehicles, however, are low in comparison. These trucks with several trailers that measure up to 45 meters long and that transport the merchandise between the most distant points of the country describe them masterfully Bill bryson in his book In the antipodes:
Meeting a speeding roadtrain on a two-lane road that you want to occupy all of yours and part of yours is an energetic experience: you feel an explosive boom and hit the air that moves you, then there is an inevitable wobble towards the shoulder, of frantic action of the axes as to lose dental fillings and empty your pockets of coins, a blanket of red and sandy dust envelops you, you hear a series of metallic and stony cracks, and you emit involuntary inarticulate sounds as clarify the dust and you begin to see some boulder in the distance; and suddenly, a miraculous return to tranquility and normality when the car recovers its lane on the road, as of its own accord, and continues on its way to Alice Springs.
The problem is that the ongoing hidden subsidies for long-distance heavy trucks is one of the reasons why there has been a constant deviation from rail freight transport to freight transport in large trucks.
As an example, more than 15 million tons of cargo per year are now moving between Sydney and Melbourne, with more than 3,000 B-Double and semi-trailers, day and night. On this route, the railway now moves about 2% of the city's intercity cargo in containers.
The decision of Shell oil In 2009, stopping using the railroad for long-haul transportation of petroleum products in New South Wales and using trucks is another change to consider. It was partly due to subsidies for most transport operations in this class of vehicles, along with ongoing concessions to the limits of mass and dimension for heavy vehicles.
Although the necessary reform has been slow to arrive in Australia, there are indications that some changes may begin to take place. In July 2016, the Victoria government asked the National Transportation Commission to review how road costs are allocated to heavy trucks. In August of that year, the Minister of Urban Infrastructure, Paul FletcherHe suggested that trucks weighing more than 4.5 tons should pay extra charges.
Taxes are therefore primarily responsible for the use of transport, and that these are more or less polluting. And so, precisely, we should even be glad that gasoline goes up in price.