'Drivers getting a raw deal' as tax take approaches €5bn
Petrol and diesel is being taxed as if they were champagne and caviar, it's been claimed.
The comment was made after it emerged that drivers paid almost €5bn in all motor-related taxes last year.
More than half of this made up of duties and levies on petrol and diesel, figures seen by the Irish Independent show.
Drivers are paying so much tax that it has been calculated that what they are handing over now represents €1 in every €10 of all taxes in the State.
The amount of taxes paid by motorists has shot up by €400m in the past two years.
Director of AA Ireland Conor Faughnan said drivers were being treated as if they were consuming some outrageously expensive discretionary goods.
"Motoring is taxed as if it was champagne and caviar. We have propped up successive governments for many years," he said.
He said the nation's two million drivers should be demanding that more of the taxes they pay gets spent on roads and policing.
"This is an astonishing contribution for which the motorist does not get properly respected. We are entitled to demand proper roads and public transport investment, resources for Gardai and road safety.
"Virtually every family in Ireland and certainly in rural Ireland needs a car as a basic necessity for normal life."
Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath, who obtained the figures, said motorists were getting a raw deal.
"While motorists are huge contributors to the Exchequer they seem to get very little in return," he said.
"Funding for regional and local roads was cut last years and major national projects have been put on the long finger."
Mr McGrath said the Government cannot be indifferent to the plight of motorists especially when they are paying over 10pc of all taxes in the State.
He said there was a need to keep roads maintained to a high standard, and also move ahead with key projects such as the Cork-Limerick motorway and the A5 from Dublin to Derry.
The figures, which were provided to Mr McGrath by Finance Minister Michael Noonan in the Dáil, show a total of €4.925bn raised from motor taxes and levies last year.
This was up from €4.583bn in 2013.
Motor tax raised €1.12bn last year. Around €2.6bn was raised from excise duty, VAT and carbon tax on petrol and diesel.
The price of crude oil has collapsed, sending prices at the pumps down.
But fuel tax in Ireland is charged by the litre, so when the price falls, the tax does not.