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The introduction of the truck tax is a complex but necessary step towards a more sustainable transport sector.

The introduction of the truck tax is a subject that is receiving a lot of attention both nationally and internationally. The Netherlands is preparing for the start of this levy in 2026, a move that is in line with similar initiatives in other European countries such as Denmark. The aim of this measure is to charge road use based on kilometers driven, with rates varying depending on the environmental characteristics and weight of the vehicle. This approach encourages the use of cleaner and lighter vehicles, in line with broader sustainability goals.

In the Netherlands, the levy will apply to domestic and foreign trucks that use highways and a select number of N-roads and municipal roads. This is designed to prevent evasive behavior on secondary roads. The net proceeds, estimated at around 250 million euros per year, are returned to the transport sector to promote innovation and sustainability. The current Eurovignette, a simple and relatively cheap system for taxing trucks, is making way for a more advanced and expensive model: road pricing based on actual use.

At the request of the House of Representatives, a maximum discount will be given on the rate for emission-free trucks, such as electric and hydrogen trucks. This makes them more attractive to entrepreneurs.

This development is not only a national matter but has its origins in European regulations, which oblige member states to switch to a system in which trucks are taxed per kilometer driven. The introduction of the truck tax is a response to several challenges, including the need to reduce CO2 emissions and air pollution, as well as ensuring sustainable maintenance of infrastructure. The cost structure of this new levy consists of several components: a rate for CO2 emissions, an amount for the impact on air pollution and noise pollution, and a contribution to the infrastructure.

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cameras for road pricing

The Netherlands will introduce a truck tax in 2026. Truck owners then pay per kilometer driven on the highways and a number of provincial and local main roads. In our neighboring countries Belgium and Germany, a truck tax already applies per kilometer driven. Dutch trucks also pay for the use of the roads and highways there.

The Dutch government is in the final stages of preparation, including tenders for the implementation of the program. Minister Harbers previously emphasized in a letter to the House of Representatives the progress and the expectation that the levy can be realized within the set estimates. Parallel to the introduction of the truck tax the return channel is being worked out in consultation with the transport sector. It becomes clear how the net proceeds from the truck tax are used to innovate and make road transport more sustainable.

The truck tax applies to all domestic and foreign trucks heavier than 3,5 tons. The levy also applies to a combination of vehicles intended for the transport of goods where the maximum permitted mass is higher than 3,5 tonnes. The truck tax does not apply to emission-free trucks up to and including 4.250 kg. These are mainly commercial vehicles, such as vans, whose weight increases due to electrification. The additional weight of the alternative drivetrain could make the vehicle heavier than 3.500.

financial impact

An example of the new rate structure illustrates the financial impact on transport companies. A 4×2 tractor with a 3-axle semi-trailer (Euro 6) would pay approximately 15,8 cents per kilometer under the new scheme, which amounts to €12.640 per year for 80.000 kilometers on Dutch highways. This is a substantial increase compared to the current vignette, which costs €1.250 per year for truck combinations with four axles or more. The switch to the new system therefore results in an annual cost increase of €11.390 for companies using such vehicles.

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This change also has implications for the future direction of freight transport, especially the transition to electric trucks. The policy provides significant discounts for electric vehicles, with the potential for up to an 80% reduction in the levy. This policy reflects the government's ambition to stimulate sustainable transport and reduce harmful emissions. The rebate can reduce annual costs for electric trucks to €2.528, offering a significant financial advantage over diesel vehicles.

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