This paper addresses the perception that there is a 'war' being waged on motoring: that government is using motorists as a 'cash cow' and that spending on roads and transport is failing to keep pace with increases in transport-related tax.

It sets out the costs of motoring both to individual drivers and to the public purse, compared to the cost of living and the costs of alternative transport modes, and it considers whether there are justifiable reasons for increased taxes on motoring.

Concluding that the so-called 'war on motoring' is a myth, and that private motoring costs have risen less than the general cost of living over the past 20 years, the paper makes five recommendations for a government response.

  1. Government should make every effort to avoid further delays in fuel duty increases.
  2. New ways should be found to reduce the non-motoring costs - the externalities - caused by road traffic.
  3. Government should make a clear statement of the importance of encouraging modal shifts away from driving and towards more sustainable forms of transport, such as walking, cycling and public transport.
  4. Improvements in public transport, walking and cycling facilities should be supported through an increase in government support for transport capital projects.
  5. Government should update its account of the wider costs of transport, including all externalities and incorporating new estimates and research.