Taxes soar as average vehicle age drops
Commercial vehicles sales rise as tax burdens increase
The automotive sector among ups and downs: on the one hand the overall tax burden imposed on the country’s motorization grew further in 2015, rising to 71.9 billion euro, an increase of 0.5% over the previous year, while on the other hand, the average age of circulating commercial vehicles continues to drop, thus reversing a trend that started during the worst period of the recent economic recession.
Let's start from here: the replacement of older circulating vehicles has certainly benefited from the recently introduced government measures in support of the road transport sector, which included incentives for the purchase of vehicles powered by alternative fuels, able to guarantee lower environmental impact and greater energy efficiency.
The recent Decree of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, issued in November 2015, has in fact allocated 6.5 million euro to encourage the purchasing or leasing of newly manufactured vehicles used for the transport of goods with a total laden weight of 3.5 to 7 tons, or equal to or more than 16 tons, powered by alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas.
The expected contribution for vehicles belonging to the first bracket was 4,000 euro, while for 16 tonners and above the amount was between 9,000 and 13,000 euro for natural gas powered vehicles. Moreover, the same decree allocated an additional 6.5 million euro for semitrailers dedicated to combined maritime and rail transport, and a further 2 million for swap bodies.
It should be noted, in fact, that as far as long distance haulage is concerned, alternative fuel options are rather limited compared to local and urban transport, while intermodal transport seems the most effective solution.
Road / rail as well as road / sea combined transport systems, for example, guarantee the movement of large amounts of goods, albeit needing long lead times and large investments in infrastructure. The provision mentioned reached its conclusion on March 31, but it is likely to be repeated in the course of 2016 and in the years to come.
The decree, currently being studied, is aimed at further lowering the average age of circulating vehicles through scrapping incentives linked to the simultaneous purchase of modern vehicles.
As mentioned at the outset of this article, though, there is also another side of the coin: the overall tax burden on the Italian transport sector grew in 2015, rising to 71.9 billion euro, a 0.5% increase compared to last year. Despite a 5.9% increase in the total national tax revenue compared to 2014 - the result of the positive performance of both direct (+ 9.1%) and indirect (+ 2.2%) taxes, based on consumption - only the percentage of the revenues from the automotive sector decreased slightly from 16.8% in 2014 to 16% in 2015.
"After years of tax hikes on vehicles, in order to offset the reduced spending capacity of Italian families during the long economic crisis, the recent recovery of the car market in 2015 kick-started a further tax rise, with revenues resulting from the purchase of vehicles - VAT and IPT1 - up 13.6% and 11.2% respectively", was the comment of Aurelio Nervo, President of ANFIA.
In fact, 4.4% of the country’s GDP came from automotive tax revenues, the highest among major European countries, which average around 3.4%. Revenues resulting from the use of vehicles is still showing impressive figures, amounting to 81% of the total revenue from the sector, for a value of 58.2 billion euro, just 0.8% less than in 2014.