‘End of cheap refueling in Luxembourg in five years’
The Luxembourg government is heralding a new era in climate goals that will mean the end of cheap refueling with gasoline or diesel within five years. According to its Mobility Minister, François Bausch, CO2 taxes on fuels will be increased gradually not to cause a shockwave.
Bausch, who is a member of the green party ‘Déi Gréng’, is convinced it won’t cost the country a lot of income, as within five years when diesel and gasoline prices will be on the same level as Belgium, much more cars will be electric and ‘refueling tourism’ would decrease anyway.
Global fiscal reform
Bausch told Gazet van Antwerpen that the government meant to start raising CO2 taxes in 2021 within a global fiscal reform, but that the corona crisis probably will postpone this. “I expect by 2030 that half of all new cars sold in Luxembourg will be fully electric,” he told Gazet van Antwerpen.
But car federation Fedamo doubts the government will be able to get that target of 50% of electric cars. “Luxembourg doesn’t have the capacity to have everyone charge his BEV at the same time,” Frank Lentz of Fedamo says.
More expensive company cars
“And higher CO2 taxes don’t necessarily lead to a better climate,” he adds. A higher tax makes company cars (of which there are many) more expensive, and employers might choose to replace them less frequently, resulting in a fleet of less-polluting cars, which is slowing down in renewal.
According to Lentz, the Luxembourg car sector doesn’t want to slow down the government. “On the contrary, it’s good that the government is investing in better public transport. I’m coming to work by public transport myself. I take the car to the train station and do the last stretch with the tram. It takes me 40 minutes longer than by car, but it is less stressful.”
Avoiding traffic jams
Better public transport avoids traffic coming to a standstill. “That’s good, otherwise we wouldn’t sell cars anymore,” Lentz says. “But the growing capacity on trains and trams won’t make traffic jams shorter as our economy is growing faster, and more people are coming to Luxembourg to work.” That number increases faster than the number of available seats on public transport.
It’s the country’s Achilles heel, as with economic growth 100 000 more people became residents of Luxembourg, and 214 000 French, Germans, and Belgians are commuting to their work in non-corona times. High real estate prices make buying a house in Luxembourg too expensive for many.
73% uses car to commute
In Luxembourg, 73% of employees are using the car to commute. According to TomTom, Luxembourg city is number 15 on the list of busiest congested cities in the EU. To compare: in a city like Antwerp in Belgium, 37% of workers use the car, the city being on the 53rd place in the ranking.
A kilometer tax is of no use to tackle the traffic jam problems, minister Bausch thinks. “We’re too small as a transit country. Such a tax should be discussed on the European level. We’re investigating, though, whether we can build carpool lanes on the highways, and we are going to double the free park & rides in Luxembourg and just over the borders from 4 100 to 8 300.”