MILAN, July 17 (Reuters) - Italian automobile owners paid 3.8 percent more in car taxes last year than in 2011, even as new petrol and luxury levies crimped consumption, trade group Anfia said on Wednesday.
Italians paid a total of 72.7 billion euros ($95.5 billion) in taxes to use, buy and own an automobile in 2012, contributing 17 percent of Italy’s total national tax income of 426.6 billion euros.
Like governments elsewhere in Europe, Italian leaders have increased car and housing taxes in an austerity drive to balance the budget and avoid paying spiralling costs on government borrowing.
The bulk of the 72.7 billion euros came from taxes at the petrol pump, which generated a 6 percent rise in tax revenue even though petrol consumption fell by 16 percent. Italians cut back on car trips for the fourth year in a row in 2012.
The figures highlight the difficulties facing European automakers, such as Fiat, as they struggle to entice consumers to buy new cars.
Italy’s shrinking car market cannot recover until taxation eases, said National Automotive Manufacturer’s Assocation Anfia.
“The first step towards re-launching demand for new cars in our country is to contain the costs of owning and using a vehicle,” said Anfia chairman Roberto Vavassori in a statement.
European car sales slumped to their lowest six-months total in 20 years in the first half of 2013, with a 6.3 percent drop in June suggesting no let up for an industry battered by overcapacity and weak demand. ($1 = 0.7612 euros) (Reporting by Jennifer Clark; Editing by Louise Heavens)