Finland must raise the fuel tax and adopt road tolls in urban areas if it is to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 2045, concludes an expert task force appointed by the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
The task force presented its final report on measures to achieve the objective in Helsinki on Wednesday, 12 December.
Adopting road tolls in urban areas, it gauged, would be one of the more effective short-term measures to promote the use of public transport, ride-sharing and other sustainable forms of transport.
The tax on fossil motor fuels, in turn, should be increased by annual increments between 2020 and 2044 while exploring the possibility of gradually phasing out the tax subsidies and driving power tax designed to offset the impact of the fuel tax. The driving power tax is levied on vehicles not powered by motor petrol.
“Raising the fuel tax is a relatively efficient measure, although its impact is greater on the choice of vehicle than transport performance,” it added.
The task force also acknowledged that economic steering measures such as road tolls and fuel tax increases can limit commuting possibilities and should consequently be counterbalanced by investing in creating the preconditions for sustainable mobility. The increases, for example, should be introduced in conjunction with measures to support the adoption of zero- and low-emission vehicles.
“The need and possibilities to compensate low-income households for the effects of the tax increases through other taxes, for example, should also be explored,” it viewed.
Two million electric cars by 2045
The action plan presented by the task force is founded on four key objectives: halting the increase in vehicle kilometres by 2025, boosting the efficiency of goods transport, accelerating the modernisation of the vehicle fleet, and raising the share of liquid biofuels of all transport fuels to 30 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2045 while ensuring the absolute volume of biofuels will not increase after 2030.
The share of zero- and low-emission vehicles of the vehicle fleet should similarly be raised dramatically from a couple of per cent to 100 per cent over the next few decades.
The task force envisions that the number of electric vehicles will increase to roughly 670,000 by 2030 and 2,000,000 by 2045 and that of gas-fuelled vehicles to 130,000 by 2030 and 250,000 by 2045.
The numbers are ambitious in light of the official objective of the government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) – of bringing a total of 250,000 electric vehicles and 50,000 gas-fuelled vehicles to the country’s roads by 2030.
“The transport sector also needs the courage to carry out ambitious emission reduction measures so that we can together contain climate change,” reminded Juhapekka Ristola, the chairperson of the task force from the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi