Exploring the Potential for 'green' Taxation Measures to Influence Individuals' Car Purchasing Decisions



Exploring the Potential for 'green' Taxation Measures to Influence Individuals' Car Purchasing Decisions

Authors

S Borthwick, M Carreno, Edinburgh Napier University, UK

Description

The paper begins with a review of evidence for different types of ?green? policy measures introduced in the UK and elsewhere, designed to encourage the purchase of LEVs.

Abstract

A toolkit of policy measures, including vehicle taxation, has been implemented by various governments in an attempt to mitigate the environmental impact of private motoring. Focusing on individual?s car purchasing decisions, taxation/subsidies are suggested to influence individuals? purchasing behaviour towards lower emission vehicles (LEVs) through incentives and disincentives, depending upon the CO2 emissions intensity of the vehicle.

The paper begins with a review of evidence for different types of ?green? policy measures introduced in the UK and elsewhere, designed to encourage the purchase of LEVs. An overview of current understanding of individuals' vehicle purchasing decisions is then provided, highlighting gaps in knowledge with current explanatory models. Based on these research gaps, and to investigate the potential for taxation and other policy measures to influence individuals' vehicle purchasing decisions, a nationally representative questionnaire survey was conducted with 1,336 car drivers in Scotland.

Survey analysis revealed that the Scottish motoring population consists of 3 fundamentally different population segments based on their susceptibility for future LEV car purchasing decisions, namely: The Go-Greens; Go-With-The-Flow-Greens; and No-Greens.

Segment profiles based on the level of importance attached to various situational and psychological attributes revealed that the Go-Greens, representing 27% of the Scottish driver population are predominantly driven by psychological factors in their vehicle purchasing decisions, and display the greatest behavioural intention to purchase a LEV in the future. On the other hand, the Go-With-The-Flow-Greens (34% of population) and No-Greens (39%) are less psychologically prepared, are more driven by situational factors, and have lower behavioural intentions for future LEV purchases.

Consequently, policy measures aimed at influencing vehicle purchasing decisions are likely to be most effective for the Go-Greens (and to a lesser extent Go-With-The-Flow-Greens). For the No-Greens, and the Go-With-The-Flow-Greens, initially, psychology-based interventions aimed at strengthening their weaker psychological preparedness may be required before the full potential of traditional policy measures are realised. Specifically, the use of policy measures, at the time of purchase (including CO2 based fees, rebates and VAT), supported by measures reoccurring throughout vehicle ownership (e.g. CO2 based Vehicle Exercise Duty and vehicle insurance), present the best opportunity for policy makers/governments in Scotland and elsewhere to shape vehicle purchasing behaviour towards LEVs, across all population segments.

Publisher

Association for European Transport