- Daily & Weekly newsletters
- Buy & download The Bulletin
- Comment on our articles
Brussels plans higher road tax for large SUVs
The Brussels region wants to discourage drivers from buying over-sized 4x4s, by introducing a higher rate of road tax.
The regional government said in a policy statement that SUVs were not suited to journeys in an urban environment.
The road tax paid when a driver buys a new vehicle has until now been a federal competence, but will pass to Belgium's three regions from January 2020.
The criteria used to calculate the tax are currently based on a vehicle's power and fuel consumption - but could be adjusted to take into account its size.
Four out of 10 cars sold in Belgium today are sport utility vehicles. "They are large vehicles which take up a lot of public space," said Damien Ernst, an energy professor at the University of Liège. "They are polluting and also dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists."
January is an important time for car sales in Belgium, with the Brussels Motor Show, and Jean-Marc Ponteville, a spokesman for D'Ieteren car dealership, said announcing a tax change would "slow down purchasing decisions".
He said: "The customer does not know what to do. It slows down the market. A large family needs a larger car, so people do not always have the opportunity to choose a car that will be the most tax-efficient."