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Denmark puts brakes on plans for 2020 road tax hike on electric cars

A planned increase on registration fees for electric cars, scheduled to take effect in 2020, has been frozen by the government.

Denmark puts brakes on plans for 2020 road tax hike on electric cars
Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

The decision to stop the planned fee increases is set out in the 2020 budget, which was on Monday evening presented by the government and its parliamentary support parties, who will vote through the finance law.

The agreement means that the registration fee for electric cars will stay at the current 20 percent of vehicle value in 2020 and will not rise to 40 percent, as previously planned.

Meanwhile, an increase on the basic deduction on registration fees for electric cars will stay at 40,000 kroner, and not increase to 77,500 kroner as planned.

In practice, only electric cars that cost more than 400,000 are eligible for registration fees.

The agreement to freeze road tax increases on electric cars is expected to cost the Danish treasury around 100 million kroner next year.

Meanwhile, the budget will also introduce a deduction of 40,000 kroner to the taxable base value of company cars.

The aim of that measure is to increase the number of green company cars on the roads. According to the budget, it will cost 25 million kroner next year.

Industry interest organization Autobranchen Denmark said it would have liked to see the road tax plans take on a more long-term character, for example by being made valid for three years.

“Consumers are no different from businesses – they want peace of mind when investing,” Autobranchen Denmark CEO Gitte Seeberg said.

“It’s a big investment for Mr and Mrs Denmark to buy an electric car, so they need to make sure that the value of their electric car does not collapse in a year’s time, otherwise we will never come close to (the government target of) a million electric cars in 2030,” Seeberg added in a written comment.

The parties behind the budget have said that they intend to keep taxes on electric cars steady until a commission next year makes recommendations for how to move forward after 2021.

But the four left-wing groups agree that Danish car taxes should generally be arranged so that they encourage transition to greener vehicles.

READ ALSO: Explained: Why is it so expensive to buy a car in Denmark? 

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DRIVING

COMPARE: Which countries in Europe have the strictest drink-drive limits?

Certain countries around Europe have stricter policies than others regarding drinking and driving and harsher punishments for those caught exceeding legal limits. Here's what you need to know.

COMPARE: Which countries in Europe have the strictest drink-drive limits?

European countries set their own driving laws and speed limits and it’s no different when it comes to legal drink-drive limits.

While the safest thing to do of course, is to drink no alcohol at all before driving it is useful to know what the limit is in the country you are driving in whether as a tourist or as someone who frequently crosses European borders by car for work.

While some countries, such as the Czech Republic, have zero tolerance for drinking and driving, in others people are allowed to have a certain amount of alcohol in their blood while driving.

However, not only can the rules be different between countries, they are usually stricter for commercial (or bus) drivers and novice drivers as well. Besides that, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is extremely difficult to estimate, so the old “one beer is ok” standards no longer safely apply.

In the end, the only way to be safe is to avoid consuming alcohol before driving. Any amount will slow reflexes while giving you dangerous higher confidence. According to the UK’s National Health Service, there is no ‘safe’ drinking level.

How is blood alcohol level measured?

European countries mostly measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which is the amount, in grams, of alcohol in one litre of blood.

After alcohol is consumed, it will be absorbed fast from the stomach and intestine to the bloodstream. There, it is broken down by a liver-produced enzyme.

Each person will absorb alcohol at their own speed, and the enzyme will also work differently in each one.

The BAC will depend on these metabolic particularities as well as body weight, gender, how fast and how much the person drank, their age and whether or not (and how much) they have eaten, and even stress levels at the time.

In other words there are many things that may influence the alcohol concentration.

The only way to effectively measure BAC is by taking a blood test – even a breathalyser test could show different results. Still, this is the measuring unit used by many EU countries when deciding on drinking limits and penalties for drivers.

Here are the latest rules and limits.

Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Greece, Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, and Croatia

In most EU countries, the limit is just under 0.5g/l for standard drivers (stricter rules could be in place for novice or professional drivers).

This could be exceeded by a man with average weight who consumed one pint of beer (containing 4.2% alcohol) and two glasses of red wine (13% alcohol) while having dinner.

If a person is caught driving with more than 0.8g/l of blood alcohol content in Austria, they can pay fines of up to € 5,900 and to have their license taken for one year in some cases.

In France, if BAC exceeds 0.8g/l, they could end up with a 2-year jail sentence and a € 4,500 fine. In Germany, penalties start at a € 500 fine and a one-month license suspension. In Greece, drunk drivers could face up to years of imprisonment.

In Denmark, first time offenders are likely to have their licences suspended and could be required to go on self-paid alcohol and traffic courses if BAC levels are low. Italy has penalties that vary depending on whether or not the driver has caused an accident and could lead to car apprehension, fines and prison sentences.

In Spain, going over a 1.2g/l limit is a criminal offence that could lead to imprisonment sentences and hefty fines. 

Norway, Sweden, and Poland

In Norway, Sweden, and Poland, the limit for standard drivers is 0.2g/l. It could take a woman with average weight one standard drink, or one can of beer, to reach that level.

Penalties in Norway can start at a one month salary fine and a criminal record. In Poland, fines are expected if you surpass the limit, and you could also have your license revoked and receive a prison sentence.

Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia

The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia have one of the strictest rules in the European Union. There is no allowed limit of alcohol in the blood for drivers.

In the Czech Republic, fines start at € 100 to € 800, and a driving ban of up to one year can be instituted for those driving with a 0.3 BAC level. However, the harshest penalties come if the BAC level surpasses 1 g/l, fines can be up to € 2,000, and drivers could be banned from driving for 10 years and imprisoned for up to three years.

This is intended to be a general guide and reference. Check the current and specific rules in the country you plan to travel to. The easiest and best way to be safe and protect yourself and others is to refrain from drinking alcohol and driving.

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