The Government's National Development Plan envisages that no NCTs will be issued from 2045 on cars that are classed as non-zero emission. But car fuel is a significant revenue generator for the Government so how will that circle be squared?

Conor Faughnan, Director of Consumer Affairs with the AA, said about two thirds of what we pay for fuel goes directly into the exchequer in the form of tax, although it varies among fuels. He said it was an enormous amount of revenue for the exchequer to consider and that source is drying up as the switch to electric happens.


"It's an experience the Government has had already because when they switched the taxing of cars from the engine size to tail pipe emissions back in 2008, that gave rise to a problem subsequently because, as the cars got cleaner, they emitted less from the tail pipe and tax dried up. Long term strategically, the Government is going to have to find an alternative source of revenue or it will have to find another way of taxing cars that's not based on the fuel they burn."

Mr Faughnan said it was likely the Government would opt for a model based on car usage rather that the power source in future. "They could walk into this and lose the revenue and that would be good for motorists.
Among the things they could do is replace road tax for a movement tax. The technology is there to charge a tax based on whenever the car is moving on the road. You could charge someone more for driving in commuting rush hour in a city, for example, than driving off peak. It will require a fundamental reimagining of how taxes are charged," he said. 

Conor Faughnan said charging for electric charge points and taking a wedge of that in tax was unlikely to form part of Government thinking on this. "At the moment, electric cars are on the launchpad. We expect sales to take off eventually. When it does, it will be difficult for the Government to break its promise. They're incentivising the purchase by keeping the charging points cheap and accessible. If they turn them into an engine of taxation, it will frustrate consumers. They'll have to think of something a little more imaginative," he concluded.

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MORNING BRIEFS - The majority of small and medium businesses - north and south - have yet to put a Brexit plan in place. This is according to AIB's latest Brexit sentiment index. The index found that as few as 6% of SMEs in the Republic and 2% in the North have a plan in place to deal with the Uk's departure from the EU. Unsurprisingly, manufacturing and the hospitality and tourism sectors are the most negative about Brexit.

*** Those figures are replicated in the latest business monitor from Intertrade Ireland - the all island trade development body. It found that up to 98% of firms say they are not formally planning for Brexit.  However, it says an increasing number with cross-border sales have started informal preparations.

*** Dublin headquartered merchanting and DIY group Grafton has acquired the London based specialist decorators' merchant, Leyland SDM, for £82.4m. Leyland operates 21 outlets across London. The purchase will be funded from Grafton's cash and debt facilities.

*** After an impressive performance in front of MEPs last week, Central Bank governor Philip Lane's candidacy for vice President of the European Central Bank is due to be discussed, and possibly voted on, by European finance ministers over the next two days. The other contender - Spanish economy minister Luis de Guindos - is seen as the favourite from a political standing, although Philip Lane is widely considered the stronger candidate. 14 of 19 ministers must approve the same name and the appointment will be given the green light an an EU summit next month.

*** bout one eighth of the overall Irish retail spend is carried out online now with about 60% of that going abroad. This is according to the latest consumer monitor from the UCD Smurfit Business School. Irish consumers spent around €5 billion online last year and about €3 billion of that went to overseas retailers.