Fleet News

Call to abolish 'kok's kwartje'

RISING fuel prices have led Dutch motorists to call for the abolition of the 'Kok's Kwartje', a special 25% fuel tax imposed when the current Prime Minister, Wim Kok, was Minister of Finance.

At the time, this was intended to make motorists aware of the costs involved in driving a car.

Fuel then cost less than 2 guilders (€0.90)a litre (unleaded petrol), but has in the meantime risen to 2.7 guilders (€1.22) per litre, and means the 'Kok's Kwartje' now generates more than 1.4 billion guilders (€635 million).

More and more people are thus arguing for this supposedly temporary tax to be abolished, but their calls to the Government are currently falling on deaf ears.

This is despite the enormous revenue raised by the Dutch treasury from the car market. New car sales are subject to VAT and BPM, a special tax which increases proportionally according to the value of the car. The RAI, the umbrella organisation representing all importers, calculates that the above taxes amount to a total of 7.5 billion guilders (€3.4 billion).

But the car provides even more opportunity for exploitation. If excise duties and VAT relating to ownership and use are also included, income for the Government rises to 27 billion guilders (€12 billion).

The Dutch Government has made 2.4 million guilders (€1 million) available for the 'Korte Ritten' (short trips) project, intended to promote the use of bikes over short distances. Apparently, people are increasingly inclined to consider any distance too far to cycle. Added to which, motorists are generally travelling further distances by car. The Korte Ritten project has been set up on a two-year trial basis and involves a range of relevant interest groups from among car companies, importers and motorists. (August 2000)

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