BRUSSELS The European Commission proposed new rules on Wednesday for road charging systems across Europe, saying they must be based on distance to reflect the carbon footprint of cars and trucks.
The EU executive, whose proposal would still need backing by the 28 EU member states and the European Parliament, said it would not force any country to introduce a road toll, but said that those in operation would have to follow certain principles.
Countries would have to have a system based on the distance traveled, measured digitally on what the Commission hopes will be standardized on-board boxes. Road transport alone is
responsible for almost a fifth of EU emissions.
Charges should be based on the CO2 emissions of vehicles. Cars with zero emissions would get a mandatory 75 percent reduction.
"We are introducing rules so as to implement the user-pay and polluter-pay principles," Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said.
Revenues should be put toward infrastructure, helping bridge a gap that Commission estimates is around 60 billion euros ($67 billion).
EU member states would also have the option to include charges designed to limit noise, congestion or pollution in specific places.
Countries such as Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden, which use the time-based "vignettes" for trucks, or Germany, which plans annual or shorter duration passes for cars, would have to adjust their schemes.
Transition periods would apply until 2023 for heavy-duty vehicles and 2027 for other vehicles.
The proposals are part of an overhaul of mobility and transport in Europe that will also include new rules on foreign truck drivers and a push for digitalisation. A future batch of proposals will focus on emission standards.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop,; editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek and Pritha Sarkar)