Gas-Tax Protests Spread Throughout Europe
September 12, 2005
Surging gas prices have sparked renewed interest in gas taxes, and the way they exacerbate rising fuel costs at the pump. Bloomberg reports that in the UK—where gas taxes are a staggering 70 percent of retail gas prices—truckers are planning highway slowdowns to protest Britain’s onerous fuel taxes:
U.K. truckers plan to protest the government’s fuel-tax policy this week with a series of slowdowns on British highways.
Welsh truckers will operate a slow-moving convoy along the M4 motorway in west Britain starting at 7 a.m. Sept. 16. There may be similar protests along the M25 highway that circles London, as well as the M1, M5 and M6, the group Less Tax on Fuel said on its Web site today.
Oil prices surged worldwide after Hurricane Katrina damaged U.S. refineries, pushing U.K. gasoline and diesel prices above 1 pound ($1.83) a liter for the first time. Taxes account for about 70 percent of U.K. pump prices. The Institute of Directors, a British business group, last week called for an “urgent” cut in the fuel duty. The government has refused so far.
Apparently, UK truckers aren’t alone in their outrage over gas taxes:
There may be protests elsewhere in Europe this week. Italian gas-station operators threatened to strike unless the government takes action. In Belgium, moving van drivers may block streets and taxi drivers say they’ll start boosting fares, while truckers in France may block the ports.