External and infrastructure costs of HGVs in the EU28 in 2013

At the request of Transport & Environment (T&E) CE Delft has reviewed the external costs and infrastructure costs of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) in the EU28 in 2013. In a shorter supplementary report these costs are also compared with the revenue from taxes and charges on HGVs in Europe. The total external and infrastructure costs of HGVs in the EU28 were estimated at €143 (€119-167) billion, with infrastructure costs comprising the single largest element (approx. 40%). For 2013, total revenue from taxes and charges was estimated to be around €43 billion, implying that only about 30% (26-36%) of the external costs of HGVs are covered by taxes and charges.

The external and infrastructure costs estimated in this study are based on the most recent scientific understanding. The data used are generally complete and detailed, though this differs somewhat among the various cost categories. In particular, consistent European databases are lacking for congestion and infrastructure costs, which meant these costs had to be estimated using modelling calculations and/or case studies, which obviously resulted in some degree of uncertainty for these cost components.

This study represents an update of a study carried out by CE Delft for T&E in 2009 entitled ‘Are trucks taking their toll?’ In that study, the external and infrastructure costs of HGVs in Europe in 2006 were estimated at €144 billion, a very similar figure to the current estimate for 2013. However, the two studies differ considerably in their estimates for the various individual cost components. The costs associated with carbon emissions are now higher, for example, as a result of today’s higher CO2 price. On the other hand, the decrease in the number of traffic casualties due to accidents involving HGVs has led to a substantial reduction in this cost component.