The European Union has approved the national reconstruction plan, which includes a number of government obligations, not only related to the reform of the judicial system. It turns out that in exchange for nearly PLN 107 billion in subsidies, the Polish government will have to hit hard on internal combustion cars.
There will be new taxes on internal combustion cars
The EU recovery plan after the coronavirus pandemic focuses mainly on the reduction of CO2 emissions by the economies of each country. The funds must be used primarily for projects related to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, but this is not the only condition set by the European Parliament. It turns out that as part of the KPO, each country must commit to reducing CO2 emissions also through a number of additional fees and taxes levied on internal combustion cars. This will certainly not please drivers in our country, where the average age of the car is well over 10 years.
It is too early to talk about specific tax rates, but today we can distinguish at least a few planned costs, which are pointed at, among others, Rafał Hirsch. By the end of 2024, Poland has committed to introduce a registration tax depending on the degree of carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions of the registered vehicle. Such fees exist, among other places, in France and can be very high. It may therefore be that importing used cars from the west is no longer profitable, and it should be remembered that before the pandemic, more than a million such cars were delivered to Poland every year.
However, this is only the beginning, because in mid-2026 another tax should be introduced, this time collected annually and also depending on the level of CO2 and NOx emissions. In this way, the European Union wants to get combustion cars off the road faster, so buying an electric car would be even more advantageous. Revenues from both tributes are to be used for the development of low-emission public transport, both within cities and on intercity routes. If they are important resources, taxes cannot be symbolic either. It is certain that their introduction will be associated with enormous resistance from a very wide social group such as drivers, so I am curious to know the government’s plans in this regard.
More toll roads and improved security
KPO also plans to introduce tolls for all sections of motorways and expressways. However, the government reassures that this requirement only applies to vehicles whose GVM exceeds 3.5 tonnes, so nothing will change for passenger car drivers. The fact is, however, that in Poland there are still free motorway sections (eg A1 from Toruń to Piotrków Trybunalski) and on these roads there will soon be tolls for all vehicles. Express lanes should be free for passenger cars with a GVM of less than 3.5 tons.
Poland has also pledged to abolish 125 of the so-called black spots, ie the places where people most often die in road accidents. By mid-2026, we must eliminate a total of more than 300 of these places, rebuilding more than 90 km of roads. This is definitely one of the supposedly more positive milestones entered in the KPO. It is also worth mentioning that by mid-2024, we have committed to introduce low-emission transport zones in the centers of the most polluted cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. This will apply to all cities where the level of air pollution is above the EU average. In practice, this may mean that almost all major Polish cities will have to organize such a zone.
Implementing the plans under the KPO will certainly not be straightforward and there are many indications that it will hit hard into the pockets of owners of internal combustion cars. The only question is how many more drivers are able to withstand, when today they have to pay almost 8 PLN per liter of gasoline, and the situation is not expected to improve in the near future …