Germany should introduce a toll for use of its autobahn – not only for lorries, but for all traffic

The topic about introducing tolls for the German autobahn is highly discussed not only among German politicians today. France, Switzerland and Austria do all have tolls to increase their earnings, which they use to build and repair their roads. In the year 2000 there was a statistic1, where 1137 German citizens over the age of sixteen were asked whether they are in favour or against establishing autobahn tolls. In the western part of Germany, there was a forty-five percentage equally on each hand, while in the eastern part of the country fifty-nine per cent of the citizens were against tolls and 29 per cent in favour of them.

This is a clear statement that the introduction of autobahn tolls is not wished by many German residents. I am against it, because German car owners already pay three times as much tax2 for the infrastructural system as it is spent for it. Additionally trains and buses would be more overcrowded. Not to think about that this idea would cost all German citizens a lot of extra money. Firstly, German inhabitants already pay three times as much tax2 as is spent for repairing the streets. When someone buys a car, he knows that this can be very expensive. The owner needs to pay value-added tax (VAT) when he buys the vehicle.

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Right now the VAT makes sixteen percent of the price. After that, money has to be spend on motor-vehicle-tax, insurance and when he or she drives a lot, it has to be paid for gas. If the car owner buys one litre of gasoline then 65. 503 cent plus sixteen percent VAT of the whole amount flows into the treasury. This is a very high percentage. In April 2004 the percentage was even higher, German car drivers had to pay 81. 10 cent4 for the state, this was 72 percent of the gasoline price! In other countries like France, Switzerland and Austria the taxes concerning cars are very low compared to Germany.

This is the reason why their citizens have to pay for street usage via tolls. Motor-oil-tax is very high in Germany. A large part of German car drivers know that motor-oil-tax is important, because not only streets, but also nature is cared for. But knowing that only one third of the amount is spent for nature and roads is a public nuisance. Secondly, if autobahn tolls are introduced, means of public transport are going to be more overcrowded. Catching a seat in a train at 9 a. m. or 6 p. m. is unlikely to happen in the rural part of the country, but it is almost an impossible task to do near or within big cities.

The “Deutsche Bundesbahn” puts no extra money into more wagons to please its customers. This is a very unpleasant experience, especially when people are dependent on means of public transport. So if a lot of car drivers find out, that this alternative is cheaper than paying tolls, the problem of overcrowded trains and buses will increase rapidly. Lastly, tolls will cost many German citizens a lot of extra money. A system as the one from “Toll-Collect” is very costly. Counters have to be installed in every car, and an office has to be created, which task it is, to control that everything goes the right way.

If Germany will use tollbooths like in France, there is also the problem of an increasing number of car accidents. This happens because around these stations the traffic is crowded and vehicles are forced to slow down. The best alternative would be a sticker as it is used in Switzerland and Austria. If this way is chosen than the usage has to be enforced by police or someone else. However, this again will eat up a lot of money; paid by German tax payers. In conclusion, it can be said that introducing a toll for the autobahn is a very expensive and unreasonable thing to do.

German car drivers pay 65. 5 cent per litre gasoline for treasury. When they put twenty litres in their car, they spend 13. 10 Euros mineral-oil and ecological tax. If car drivers do not want to pay tolls, they have to switch to means of public transport. The problem is that trains and buses are already overcrowded so that this would be a very unpleasant experience for a lot of “Bundesbahn” customers. Another argument against this toll is, that introducing and controlling such a system costs a lot of money, which also has to be paid by the German people.

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