Tolls not car fuel tax, says IV

The Austrian Industrial Association (IV) is calling for car tolls rather than for an increase in taxes on car fuel, according to today’s edition (Fri) of news magazine Format.IV General Secretary Markus Beyrer is quoted as calling tolls based on the number of kilometres driven “a more intelligent alternative.”He said tolls could be staggered in terms of the time of driving, with lower ones for night-time travel and higher ones for daytime trips.Beyrer added that a tax on CO2 emissions by energy-intensive industrial firms would put them on the brink of extinction.As for the government’s tax plans, Beyrer said: “It is necessary to begin budget consolidation on the expenditure side, and that should begin now.”He added: “We expected more from the governing parties (Social Democrats or SPÖ and People’s Party or ÖVP).”The price of car fuel has been soaring, and an increase in taxes on it would only make it more expensive.Statistik Austria recently reported that inflation had slightly declined last month but would have been even lower if car fuel prices had not risen so much.Inflation reached 0.9 per cent in February after 1.2 per cent in the previous month and 1.0 per cent in December 2009 but would have been only 0.6 per cent if car fuel prices had remained lower.The government is currently negotiating over how to reduce the budget deficit, and ministers do not rule out increasing mineral oil taxes – a move which would certainly be met with anger by drivers and motoring associations.Social Democratic (SPÖ) Traffic Minister Doris Bures however warned such a decision could have the opposite effect since it might reduce “fuel tourism”.The term describes people from neighbouring states crossing the border to fuel their vehicles in Austria since fuel prices here – despite recent developments – are still considerably lower than in most neighbouring countries.