THE Road Safety Authority (RSA) received levies totalling more than €18.6m last year from motorists taking their cars and trucks for the NCT.
New figures show drivers have paid over €60m to it since 2006 under a deal to help the RSA become financially independent and reduce Exchequer funding to help promote road safety initiatives, including information campaigns and on-the-spot safety checks.
The levies are paid under a provision in the 2006 Road Safety Authority Act, and are imposed to help the RSA monitor the testing service and carry out other functions.
They are paid because the Government wants it to become self-funding over the coming years, using levies from the National Car Testing Service and driving licences to pay for public services it provides. The figures, provided to Fine Gael TD Terence Flanagan in a parliamentary question, show that income levels have sharply grown in recent years following the introduction of a rule in 2012 that cars over 10 years old undergo a test every year, and the general ageing of the national fleet.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar approved a hike in the cost of the NCT from €50 to €55 in February 2012, although the cost of a retest remained the same at €28.
The move was criticised at the time by consumer groups.
There were no plans to introduce further hikes, a spokesman in the Department of Transport said last night.
The RSA said there had been "very few" rises in the cost of the NCT since it was introduced in 2000. "The last change took place in early 2012 when the fee increased from €50 to €55. Prior to that, the fee rose from €49 to €50 in 2009. The previous change had taken place in March 2005," a spokesman said.
As the test system varies between EU member states, the Irish fee is considered low. It is €76 in Denmark and between €92 and €95 in Germany.
Last year, more than 1.1 million cars underwent the safety checks. Some 614,000 had to be retested.
The test is mandatory for cars more than three years old. Cars aged between four and 10 years must undergo the test every two years, while older cars must be tested every year.