On behalf of many transport companies, on December 29 the Müller Transporte company has harshly criticised the intention of Environmental Minister Rupprechter to increase fuel tax on diesel. “After the increased truck toll, this would be a further attack on the domestic transport industry within a short period,” said CEO Fritz Müller, who referred to the fuel tax increase as “nonsense of budgetary and environmental policy, at the expense of domestic carriers”.
According to him, an increased fuel tax would be a totally inefficient environmental control measure, since 90 percent of domestic truck traffic are “homemade”. The number of truck trips would not change, “because the transport of construction material, food, consumer products or waste can not be shifted to other modes of transport”.
Even in terms of budget policy, such an increase would not make any sense from Fritz Müller’s point of view. Due to the loss of lucrative fuel tourism in border regions, the Financial Minister would even see less revenue than before. According to a recent calculation of the Austrian automobile club ÖAMTC, the Republic would finally loose approximately EUR 400 million with an increase in the fuel tax by 8.5 cents per liter of diesel.
The economical consequences would be disastrous, however, as rising prices for the end users would be unavoidable – with negative consequences for the purchasing power, the economic recovery and ultimately the entire location. The domestic transport industry had already heavily burdened the shipping industry with unavoidable freight cost increases during the last few weeks. An additional fuel tax increase would be the next shock. “In view of the very difficult economical conditions all parties involved have no other choice but to pass on those costs,” estimates the transport entrepreneur.
Fritz Müller calculated, that some transport companies would have to face burdens at million Euro amounts. “The toll increase costs us half a million euros. For our company an increase in fuel tax by 8.5 cents per liter would mean additional costs of EUR 1.1 million. However, this does not even include the rising prices for raw material, which is due to the recent OPEC agreement.”
OPEC and non-OPEC countries have agreed to reduce their oil production in December in Vienna. Crude oil prices have increased significantly since then, directly affecting the transport industry.
Fritz Müller also criticised that the toll for the lowest emission truck class was increased by 13.5 percent from 2017- and thus the most of all truck classes. “Who wants to encourage the change to low-emission trucks, must increase the differences among the toll classes. In Austria, however, these differences will be reduced with the start of the year. This sole fact already showed that politicians act without any plans in this area. An expensive and also nonsensical fuel tax increase is another example therefore,” said Müller.