Trevor Veale

Drivers to pay extra $50 for fuel in 2018

DRIVERS across regional Australia who travel long distances each week will face escalating costs, starting at $50 extra from 2018, under the Abbott government's fuel excise increases.

The extra costs were revealed in modelling by the NRMA on Tuesday, which showed drivers who travelled 200km a week in a Ford Falcon would pay an extra $56 over the year in 2018 due to the rises.

While the changes to fuel charges at the bowser made earlier this month were small - about half a cent a litre from November 10 - the excise will keep rising.

The modelling revealed rural and regional drivers would be hit hardest, with those driving a Toyota Hilux about 500km a week up for an extra $185 a year by 2018.

NRMA president Kyle Loades said while the new excise seemed small to begin with it would increase "exponentially".

"If you're a farmer living on a large property in rural New South Wales, or a miner travelling from Newcastle into the Hunter for work, you're going to be paying hundreds of dollars more in fuel tax in just a few years," he said.

"If you're driving a Mazda 3 around 300km a week you'll be paying nearly $50 more annually by 2018."

While the government's estimates showed the fuel excise would cost most motorists about $21 this year, Mr Loades said the NRMA analysis showed the tax combined with the GST would hit motorists.

"The NRMA is opposed to the Federal Government's new unfair tax because Australian motorists already pay more than $15 billion annually, with around one-third being reinvested back into roads," he said.

While the fuel excise was originally meant to help fund new roads and maintenance on existing roads, it was frozen by the Howard government in 2001.

The latest increase will help fund the budget, rather than be directed to roads.

The increase can be challenged in parliament next year, but it is unclear whether key senate crossbenchers will support removing it.

Mr Loades said motorists already contributed "handsomely to general revenue" and that even if the regulations were rejected in parliament the oil companies would get a refund, not motorists.

- APN NEWSDESK



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