Monday, June 21, 2021

Expensive things, road taxes

Cars are fun and we all wanted to get a driving licence and behind the wheel as young’uns. Vroom vroom. They are useful for getting about, racing, picking up girls, doing the shopping, racing, speeding and racing.

They cost a lot to buy (unless your parents shelled out) and they are expensive to maintain. Then comes the taxes on them. There’s the garage tax, the petrol tax, the road tax, the wretched ITV and its associate taxes, the motorway tolls, the insurance and the fines for parking in the wrong place or speeding at the wrong moment.

Then there are the fines for driving drunk, or with a phone somewhere near to your ear, or for sticking your elbow out of the window when a traffic cop is low on his monthly quota.

Now Brussels wants Spain, which has been getting rid of its toll roads, to start charging for all and any motorway usage by 2024: to help finance their upkeep, apparently. The argument is that, those who use them should pay for them.

Currently, the State receives, between car and petrol taxes, plus the IVA placed on them, 30,888 million euros a year. Plus the fines collected by the insufferable DGT – 374 million euros. Plus what the ayuntamientos get.

Another calculation gives the sum that is spent by the government on roads – building and maintenance – at a rather smaller 2,800 million euros.

Why, that’s not even 10%!

And now they want us to pay for the road-upkeep (the fifteen kilometres on the autovía between Los Gallardos and Venta del Pobre in Almería have been mangled and potholed now for several years, if anyone’s asking)! Something called the Acex – the association of road operators – thinks that 5 cents per kilometre should do it.

Cars are fun, but they are expensive. It’s a great saving to live without one (and hitch a ride from the neighbour).

The long-term future for car-ownership is doubtful. Within a generation from now, they’ll all likely be public-owned (or more likely Amazon-owned) driverless cars which run on a credit-card. Luckily, for the dare-devils, there’ll still be those electric scooters (patinetes) available from the better shops, although now you will have to wear a crash-helmet while trundling along on one at a top-speed of 25kph.


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