I’ve long argued the roads are mis-priced. For much of a 24 hour period, roads are underused, and therefore probably overpriced. For 4 hours a day there’s gridlock in every town, and for most of the period 9:15am to 16:00, the roads are full, but flowing and therefore the price is about right. The Government’s main means of pricing the roads is Fuel Duty.
I’ve also opposed GPS-based road-pricing systems for privacy reasons. But I believe people should pay a market rate for services used, especially scarce ones like urban road space.
Given that most of the noise about fuel taxes are coming from Hauliers, whose vans lorries are responsible for much congestion, especially when unloading in town centres, there is an opportunity to make the roads run more efficiently by getting hauliers to move stuff at night.
Hauliers operating vehicles of more than 3.5 tonnes must already log driver’s hours. There’s no reason why the same tachograph systems couldn’t be used to log fuel used as well, in order to secure a rebate (say 50% for the sake of argument) on fuel used at night.
If successful, Why not extend this? Everyone, not just professional hauliers could have the option to drive at night or get to the office extra-early, and save money by doing so. The Government would not be intruding, but by demonstrating which bits of your driving were at “off peak hours” the Government should refund some of its overcharge as a rebate. Let’s see if people take it, and we can then see the true price of people’s driving preferences.