A new wave of double-deck truck trailers is sweeping over Europe in response to a new road toll scheme. Now that the German autobahns are no longer free for heavy trucks, transporters want to carry more on each trip.
The new road toll or MAUT applies to all trucks with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 12 tonnes (26,460 lb) or more. It is an additional tax on transporters. It would be in effect already but for glitches in the electronic devices that calculate the distance that each truck travels in Germany. Austria will follow suit shortly with distance tolls on all trucks over 3.5 tonnes (7,700 lb) GVW.
This is not a ton-mile tax as used in some states in the USA. The MAUT is distance related only. Because many loads are palletized by stop, the best way to increase capacity on each truck and thereby decrease the number of miles taxed is to increase the number of pallet positions. It is hoped that this will reduce the number of kilometers taxed for each company.
Weight is not a problem with the heavier vehicles, because most of Europe has a GVW limit of 40 metric tonnes (88,200 lb), and some countries are at 44 tonnes (97,000 lb) and higher.
The German government estimates that the toll will increase transport costs by 7% to 9% and consumer costs by 0.15%. This is figuring the initial toll rate of 12.4 euro cents per kilometer (19.7 US cents per mile). However, the toll rate is expected to go back up soon to the originally proposed 15 euro cents per kilometer (23.8 US cents per mile).