Green taxes more than doubled since 1992

10/05/2004 10:00

Revenues from green taxes rose from 5.8 billion euro in 1990 to 15 billion euro in 2003. In 2003 these taxes accounted for 14 percent of total tax revenues. Eighty percent of green taxes were paid by road users.

Green taxes, 1990–2003

Green taxes, 1990–2003

Green taxes account for stable share of taxes

Green taxes are levied on consumer goods and activities that contribute to pollution, such as motor fuels, cars, energy, driving, and dumping waste. The proportion of the green taxes in total taxes rose from 9 percent in 1990 to 14 percent in 1996.

The increase in the excise on petrol in particular and the introduction of regulating energy taxes accounted for this increase in the proportion of green taxes. The percentage has been stable since 1996. No further measures have been taken to make the tax system greener since then.

Green taxes as a percentage of total tax revenues

Green taxes as a percentage of total tax revenues

Environmental taxes cost car owners 1,175 euro a year

Consumers paid 8.1 billion euro (54 percent) in green taxes in 2003. Car owners paid 7.2 billion euro in the form of excise duty on motor fuels, motor vehicle tax, and a purchase tax on cars and motorcycles. This adds up to an average 1,175 euro per car per year for car owners.

This amount has hardly changed since 1996. Although the rates of excise and tax on vehicles rose slightly in this period, cars drive fewer kilometres on average. The average tax burden for households owning a car has risen slightly since 1996 because of the rise in the number of households with more than one car.

Green taxes per car, 1990–2003

Green taxes per car, 1990–2003

No green taxes for air traffic and seagoing shipping

Private companies and the government paid 6.9 billion euro (46 percent) in green taxes in 2003. Companies in business services and trade paid most, among other things through purchase tax on company and lease cars. Road transport accounts for 95 percent of green taxes in the transport sector. Companies in air transport and seagoing shipping pay hardly any green taxes, as there is no excise duty on fuel oil and kerosene.

Green tax by sector of industry, 2002

Green tax by sector of industry, 2002

Sjoerd Schenau