Keywords: economic evaluation, green tax, health effects, hydrocarbons, moped, Pigouvian tax, PM10, registration fee, road safety, socio-economic analysis, ultrafine particles, Denmark, mopeds
An environmental and economic assessment of mopeds in Denmark
There are approximately 160,000 mopeds in Denmark. In other words, one in every 33 Danes owns a moped. Of these mopeds, half have a legal maximum speed of 45 km/h and the other half of 30 km/h. An environmental and economic assessment proves that mopeds have significant environmental and road safety problems. For a start, mopeds emit 1% of all PM10 emitted by urban road traffic in Denmark, and their hydrocarbon emissions equal 7% of that from all passenger cars, though they travel only 0.5% the average distance. Their gasoline consumption is disproportionately large. In addition, mopeds are involved in 50 to 75 times more accidents per kilometre than cars. Yet, mopeds are not registered with the Central Registry of Motor vehicles or regularly MOT-tested. Moreover, there are no vehicle taxes to pay for mopeds, although they annually cost Danish society Euro176 million. Accident-related expenses account for Euro138 million of this amount and air pollution-related health costs for the remaining Euro38 million. The author recommends that mopeds be taxed on a par with other motor vehicles in Denmark. Since moped owners or their families typically do not belong to the lowest income brackets, such a tax is fair and politically feasible. Moped taxes could be used to stimulate the sale of more environmentally friendly mopeds, either four-stroke engines, or two-stroke engines with direct injection and other new technology. While EEC legislation will, in any event, propel a move to environmentally friendly mopeds, fair taxes would speed up the process in Denmark.