EV Boom Could Lead To Gridlock Says Report

Mon 6th Sep 2021

The future of electric vehicles may look bright and may look green, but experts are warning that increased access to cleaner cars could lead to traffic jams that cost the economy £120billion a year.

The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change has said that incentives have made EVs too affordable to run, with tax breaks and government grants pressing fast-forward for many considering buying an EV.

But the former Prime Minister’s lobby group have called for an overhaul of the vehicle excise duty system as driving becomes more accessible, but fewer funds in the government coffers due to almost zero taxation on low-emission cars.

Blair’s group suggests that drivers will spend 50 per cent more time in queues over the next 20 years and that the public finances will be crippled by a £30billion loss of revenue due to a lack of road duties. The report suggests that a road pricing solution is the only viable alternative to vehicle tax.

“We have, in the next couple of years, a once-in-a-century opportunity to address these problems through the introduction of road pricing,” said the ‘Avoiding Gridlock Britain’ report. “Such a scheme could slash congestion, maintain tax receipts and mitigate unfairness – delivering better outcomes both for drivers and other road users.

“But while implementing road pricing is now technologically achievable, it comes with huge challenges. Any new scheme would need to avoid slowing the uptake of BEVs – vital if we are to meet our climate targets. And it must be designed and delivered in a way that is politically acceptable, and fair to motorists and other road users.

“There is real urgency: while the government avoided this issue in its recent Transport Decarbonisation Plan, we need to act now. If we do not, then congestion, reduced revenue and higher unfairness will create political problems in the next five years, and millions of BEVs will be purchased on the assumption they will be cheap to use for their lifetimes. Introducing a pricing scheme at that point will be politically impossible.”