The European Commission has laid out demands for simpler tax structures, which would see duty rise in some countries and fall in others.
A meeting of the Economic and Social Committee has unanimously adopted an 'opinion', which warned: 'The transport debate in general needs to rise to the top of the socio-economic agenda to ensure that its peculiar impact on the 21st century is recognised. 'Taxes, which are based upon nationality, are 'competitiveness retarding' since increases or decreases by any one country hurt or benefit only those transport nationals of the country. Charges are 'competitiveness enhancing' since increases or decreases hurt or benefit all firms.
'In order to promote the creation of a level playing field, the EC believes there should be a shift away from taxes towards charges.
'Harmonisation of transport-specific taxes and charging systems should, in addition to creating a level playing field, continue to improve the environmental impact of transport services.'
Martin Hender, director of fuel for ARVAL PHH, which operates the AllStar fuel card, said: 'The threat of a recession means that businesses need all the help they can get to remain competitive and the Government should use this opportunity to review their fuel taxation levels as a matter of some urgency.'