Internalisation of External Costs in Flanders

Internalisation of External Costs in Flanders


E Delhaye, Transport & Mobility Leuven and CES-KU Leuven; G De Ceuster, S Maerivoet, Transport & Mobility Leuven, BE


Private costs, marginal external costs and the degree of internalisation for different road modes, rail, inland waterways and sea are calculated in detail for Flanders. The marginal external congestion costs is based on estimated speed flow curves.


In this paper the private costs, the marginal external costs and the degree of internalisation for different road modes, rail, inland waterways and sea transport are calculated in great detail for Flanders for the period 2000-2008.

For road transport the private costs are calculated in great detail, distinguishing between fuel costs, costs and subsidies when purchasing a vehicle (purchase costs, VAT and taxes), and yearly costs such as the road tax, maintenance, insurance, and the Eurovignette. For the traditional fuel types car user pays between 17 and 34 euro per 100 kilometres. The purchase costs and the VAT have the largest share in the total costs. Riding a motorbike is more expensive than a car with a cost of about 40 euro per 100 kilometres. Taking into account the subsidies, the costs for busses is about 27 euro per 100 kilometres. Without the subsidies, these costs are much higher with about 164 euro per 100 vehicle kilometres. The user costs of road freight transport vary between 66 and 99 euro per 100 vehicle kilometres. For freight road transport the most important cost element are the wage costs and the taxes on wages. For rail we derived the average costs and subsidies from the total revenues. For inland waterways the costs for 3 types of vessels were calculated: "spits", a "European" schip and a large cargo schip. We distinguished between the fixed costs (personnel costs, costs for maintenance and repair, et cetera) and the variable costs such as the energy costs and the taxes. The most important costs for inland waterways are the fuel costs and the personnel costs.For sea transport we distinguish between 7 types of vessels: LoLo, RoRo, small and large RoPax, container schip, bulk schip and tanker. For the costs we distinguish between personnel costs, insurance costs, maintenance and repair costs, port costs, fuel costs, et cetera. The most important cost components are again the fuel costs (except for small RoPax), capital costs (depreciation and interest costs) and the personnel cost.
The study considers the following external costs: costs caused by noise, congestion, accidents, damage to infrastructure, and environmental costs. For cycling the external health benefit is taken into account. Rather unique for this type of studies is that de marginal external congestion costs is based on estimated speed flow curves. Speed flow curves are estimated using traffic counts - both from mobile data as from induction loops - for different types of road.

At the moment most users do not pay for the nuisances they cause. The degree of internalisation is the largest for road transport, and for passenger cars in particular. A passenger car on gasoline even pays more than its external costs. The degree of internalisation varies with the fuel type and is between 86% and 38% for light duty vehicles. Lorries internalise between 30% and 66% of their external costs, coaches internalise about 29%. The degree of internalisation of motorbikes is also relatively low with 30%. Due to its high subsidisation, public transport does not internalise its external cost. The subsidies are about 4 times higher than the external costs for busses and about 73 times higher for rail (national passenger transport). For the other modes (rail, inland waterways, and sea transport) it is clear that the existing tax level is very low. Hence, the degree of internalisation is low to inexistent for these modes. For road transport we make a further distinction towards time (peak versus off-peak hours) and place (highways, other roads, and city roads) of transport. For highways we further distinguish between the so-called "Vlaamse Ruit" (VR) or "Flemish Diamond" (the diamond extends round Antwerp -Ghent - Brussels - Leuven) and outside the VR. Gasoline passenger cars pay almost always too much, and in particular during the off-peak hours on highways outside the VR. On city roads and during the peak hours he pays more or less the exact price. Diesel passenger cars also pay too much during the off-peak hours on highways outside the VR. In all other cases, and in particular on city roads during peak hours, they pay too little. For lorries we have a similar picture. This implies that it would be economically optimal to differentiate the taxes and levies towards fuel type, the place, and the time of transport. Today, most taxes are only dependent on fuel type.


Association for European Transport