Petrol price hike urged by Swiss researchers

New measures required to curb growing levels of leisure traffic, says report to government

The Swiss government should increase petrol prices by 50% and introduce a range of other measures to curb growing levels of private transport for leisure, according to a national research project released recently. The study identifies leisure traffic as a central problem for transport policy makers. It predicts continued growth in traffic volume, which it says threatens agreed targets for improving fuel efficiency and cutting carbon dioxide emissions.

Prepared by the Swiss National Science Foundation, the study recommends new parking taxes in areas used by tourists to cover external costs of motoring and stronger promotion of public transport to provide alternatives to private car use, principally through subsidies to cut ticket prices. It also calls for a new benchmark for car fuel efficiency of five litres per 100 kilometres - a Swiss NGO recently claimed that an existing agreement on improving average car fuel efficiency was not working (ENDS Daily 21 July).

The study is a part of a more general national research programme on transport and environment, commissioned by the federal government. Its proposals are non-binding. In March, Swiss voters rejected a move to require a halving of traffic levels by 2010 (ENDS 13 March), following an appeal by the government.

Follow Up:
Swiss National Science Foundation, tel: +41 31 308 2222, and information on National Research Programme 41. Programme Manager, Felix Walter, Ecoplan, tel: +41 31 356 6161.

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