‘Raise fuel tax to combat climate change’

Higher tax is needed on petrol (gasoline) and diesel in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from Sweden's cars, the leader of the Christian Democrats, a junior member of Sweden's governing coalition has said.

Göran Hägglund, who is also social affairs minister, said taxes were the most effective single tool for reducing emissions from road traffic in the short term.

Hägglund presented his party’s new policy in an article in Monday’s Dagens Nyheter. He said the party, which has previously positioned itself as a champion of fuel tax cuts, has reconsidered its position.

“Our proposals for reduced VAT [on fuel] has not been able to be realized in the autumn’s budget negotiations. We will not push the question in future negotiations,” he said.

Under the new proposals, people in isolated areas will be compensated for the increases by tax breaks on work-related travel. Pensioners will also be given tax breaks on travel under the Christian Democrat scheme.

The party also argues that cars that run only on gasoline should be banned from 2015.

“The changeover to hybrid cars must continue, so that the cars of the future in normal circumstances run on electricity over short distances and on biofuels over longer distances,” said Hägglund.