Estimated Driving Subsidy

Driving is a subsidised mode of transport, although it may not feel like it. When accounting for the external costs of motoring, it’s clear that the money taken by the government from fuel tax, fuel VAT, and vehicle excise duty does not cover the expenses.

Bristol Cycling did an article on this a while back, resulting in an often-shared infographic with the headline that each taxpayer in the UK (driver or not) pays a road transport subsidy of £2,500. That article is a few years old now and some references appear to be out of date, so I did my own research.

That headline figure seems a reasonable headline approximation, though it does depend on how you account for a range in estimated costs. I’ve come up with figures between roughly £1,400 to £3,000 – but in all cases, the costs from climate change are not included. These will likely increase that figure further.

My data can be seen here:

Estimated Subsidy (using the lower value from estimated cost ranges)
Estimated Subsidy (using the midpoint of estimated cost ranges)
Estimated Subsidy (using the higher value from estimated cost ranges)

If you want the spreadsheet from which these screenshots are taken, you can download it here (XLSX).

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