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Motorists want changes on roads & taxes, says RAC

Now in its 25th year, the latest RAC Report on Motoring shows that the cost of driving is still the number one concern for nearly half (46%) of Britain’s motorists, while two in five (41%) say maintenance of local roads and motorways is their top spending priority. In addition, 84% of motorists believe their local roads are deteriorating and three-quarters (75%) think the same about motorways and other major roads.

And a major concern for drivers is the question of why isn’t more of the money collected in motoring taxation ring-fenced for maintaining roads? A shocking four out of five (78%) think the money they pay to Government through motoring taxes is not properly invested in local roads.

With revenue from fuel duty falling year on year as people drive fewer miles in more fuel-efficient vehicles, the RAC says its report shows there is a real need for a new way of taxing motorists. The report also found that 90% of the UK’s nearly 30 million car drivers are unhappy or blind to the overall balance of motoring taxation that sees more than £40bn being raised for the Treasury – with only around 22% spent improving and maintaining our national and local roads.

What’s more, a third of motorists surveyed said they are prepared to pay tolls for motorway driving (29%) or city centre congestion charges (33%) if the cost of fuel and car tax was significantly reduced – perhaps signalling a new model for taxing the motorist.

With nine in 10 (89%) relying more than ever on their vehicles for day-to day activities than 25 years ago and more than three quarters (77%) claiming they are struggling to make ends meet because of the cost of fuel, the RAC is now calling on the Government to take urgent action to review the motoring taxation model.

Unsurprisingly, motorists said that tax levied on fuel and Vehicle Excise Duty (car tax) should represent a smaller share of what they pay. More than 22 millon drivers (77%) would prefer to pay less fuel tax and half (49%) would like to pay lower levels of car tax.

RAC technical director David Bizley said: ‘Our Report on Motoring shows that Britain’s motorists – and roads – have been left battle-scarred after a further 12 months of bearing the burden of extreme financial conditions.

‘Despite this, motorists are willing to pay their taxes, but want the balance of levies to reflect how they live and how the use their vehicle. The report suggests that motorists would prefer to see a higher share of motoring taxation levied on those things over which they have greater control – such as whether or not they choose to drive into city centres or use a particular motorway.

‘What’s needed is an in-depth review of the overall motoring taxation model and for a reasonable percentage of money raised from drivers to be ring-fenced for roads – that way the “unlucky” motorist can be rid of the 2013 plague of the all-year-round pothole.’

The full 2013 Report on Motoring can be downloaded free-of-charge today from www.rac.co.uk/reportonmotoring.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.