Registration re-think

19 February 2021

­User pays is the way to go

When you receive your vehicle VicRoads registration bill, you’ll find you’re charged the same as the person down the road. That’s great, you might think. But what if your vehicle is lighter, more fuel-efficient, or emits less pollution than that vehicle down the road. Do you feel the same now?

I’m all for equality, but in Victoria a motorcycle is a motorcycle, a car is a car, and a truck is a truck in VicRoads’ eyes, and that’s simply not fair. Some motorcycles use less petrol than others, some cars emit less pollution than others, and some vehicles weigh much less than others.

One-size-fits-all approaches are usually organised for the benefit of government departments. So, it’s easy to imagine VicRoads developing pricing based on basic categories – motorcycle, car, truck. Surely, we can be more sophisticated than that.

Here’s a thought – why not base vehicle registration on other, more meaningful metrics? Like a vehicle’s fuel consumption (and the type of fuel it uses, including electricity), its carbon emissions, and its weight (because large SUVs wear roads down much more quickly than a compact sedan).

Scooters and motorcycles cause less road congestion and ease parking conditions, as do smaller cars and commercials. And digging up less fuel and emitting less pollution into the atmosphere isn’t a bad idea either.

A sliding registration scheme will incentivise vehicle owners to ‘go green’ and think about the necessity of driving solo to work in oversized vehicles. Why wouldn’t VicRoads want that?

Words: VACC CEO, Geoff Gwilym. As featured in the Herald Sun 19 February 2021.

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