In a radical move to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, the Dutch government is to introduce a ''green'' road tax by the kilometer driven.
The cabinet approved the legislation Friday last and it is to become effective 2012 if passed by the parliament. The Transport Ministry says the move will cut congestion in half and curb carbon dioxide emissions by 10 percent.
Advertisement''Each vehicle will be equipped with a GPS device that tracks how many kilometres are driven and when and where. This data will be then be sent to a collection agency that will send out the bill,'' the transport ministry said in a statement.
Ownership and sales taxes, about a quarter of the cost of a new car, will be scrapped and replaced by the ''price per kilometre'' system.
''Traffic jams will be halved and it helps the environment,'' the ministry said.
Dutch motorists driving a standard family saloon will be charged 3 euro cents per kilometre (seven US cents per mile) in 2012. That would increase to 6.7 cents (16 US cents per mile) in 2018, according to the proposed law.
Every vehicle type will have a base rate, which depends on its size, weight and carbon dioxide emissions.
Taxis, vehicles for the disabled, buses, motorcycles and classic cars will all be exempt.
''An alternative payment will be introduced for foreign vehicles,'' the ministry statement added.
But Finance Minister Wouter Bos is upset. He says the Inland Revenue's income may suffer when people drive less and wants Transport Minister Camiel Eurlings to cut spending on roads instead.
Advocates of the tax say nearly six in 10 drivers will benefit because the tax burden will be shifted to people who drive the most and at peak times. The price of a new car also would decrease significantly, because taxes comprise about 25 percent of the sticker price.