Taxing Cars With Attitude

Lane, Ben; Potter, Stephen and Warren, James (2006). Taxing Cars With Attitude. In: Low CVP Low Carbon Road Transport Challenge, Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (Low CVP) Annual Conference 2006, Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, Harps Ltd, Essex, UK, pp. 41–47.


It is now becoming clear that the ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers' Association) CO2 voluntary agreement for a reduction to 140 g/km for 2008-2009 is unlikely to be met. Furthermore, delivering the target of 120 g/km by 2012 now looks improbable. Although pressure for mandatory regulation grows, for a limited time there remains an opportunity to increase the effectiveness of existing consumer price signals to encourage the uptake of low carbon cars.

This paper proposes a new approach to designing an effective low carbon taxation regime. This is to start by identifying the most accessible attitudinal levers with which to modify consumer behaviour. This achieved, a taxation system is then devised to influence attitudes and behaviour to maximum effect. In this way, the attitude-action gap is bridged, exploiting the most efficient links between tax policy, consumer attitudes, car purchasing behaviour and carbon impact.

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