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No, I’ll pay, I insist

Written By: - Date published: 1:08 pm, September 21st, 2009 - 18 comments
Categories: capitalism - Tags:

So trucking companies are unwilling to pay for the extra damage that 53 tonne trucks will do. Companies trying to privatise the gains and socialise the losses? Gotta love those capitalists.

And there’s Joyce telling us to harden up and cop it. Thank goodness we’ve got the Tories helping private business pocket gains at the taxpayers’ cost.

Forget that even a normal heavy truck creates damage to the road equivalent to 10,000 cars and the damage is exponential with more weight. We ought to be thankful just to have these Atlases around mooching off us.

Personally, I was never happier than when they clogged our city streets with their bloody trucks last year. Hell, we should be paying them. In fact, I’ll put $20 in the mail to Mainfreight now.

18 comments on “No, I’ll pay, I insist ”

  1. lprent 1

    To recompense them for their contributions to politicians?

    This really makes no sense. Trucks should stop getting subsidised by car-users and fully pay for their damage to the roads. Then some rational economic decisions can be made by freighters.

  2. Chess Player 2

    I agree.

    In my view, road user charges should be levied in direct proportion to the number of wheels on the vehicle.

    • yes, number of wheels x load on each wheel

      • bill brown 2.1.1

        That’s just the total load,

        Should be (total load / no_of_wheels) x some_constant

        • Chess Player

          No, it needs to be just No. of Wheels.

          We want this easily understood by truck drivers, and easily enforced by traffic police.

          Anything else is just too complex…

          • bill brown

            load is distributed across wheels, more wheels = less load per wheel = less harm

            it’s not that hard to grasp, I would have thought

            it’s no use making things simpler if they are wrong

          • Armchair Critic

            Sorry CP, it is complex. Axle configurations, numbers of wheels per axle and how the truck and trailer are loaded all affect the amount of damage a truck does to the road, which in turn affects the length of time before the pavement needs to be rebuilt. Really big trucks do about the same amount of damage to a pavement as 1000 cars. With trucks doing most of the damage, in theory trucking companies should pay most of the cost.
            Keep in mind that it is not just the extra thickness of the pavement that truck companies socialise. Trucks, especially the bigger ones, require wider roads, yet the cost of widening the road is also socialised for trucking companies.
            Then there are the costs of building and maintaining slow vehicle lanes, extra passing lanes and road alignments that meet gradient requirements of trucks, but I won’t go there.
            Allowing trucks with a higher overall weight might not result in a higher overall cost of transporting goods around the country, but there is nothing indicating it won’t, either.
            I’m very keen to see a full analysis of the merits of the various modes of transport. My instinct is that road transport is massively subsidised (by taxpayers) compared to other modes, i.e. rail and coastal shipping. As LP said above, a generous donation by the Road Transport Forum to the National party will go a long way to stopping such an analysis being done under this government, though.
            Don’t be hard on truck drivers, most of them are smart enough to do more than count the wheels on their truck.
            For the record – I think trucking has a place in NZ’s tranport. And I have a heavy vehicle licence and a goods service licence, and I own and operate a heavy vehicle (yep, a truck).
            And what Bill Brown said in his last sentence at 1:53 – Ockham’s Razor.

        • George D

          The relative constant is approximately the fourth power of the weight. It can be less, or more, depending on the type of surface.

  3. So Bored 3

    Trucks on road used to be my pet hate. As an industry I doubt that they have ever paid their way versus the real costs. Where the capitalists really get their rocks off is the ability of the trucking industry to deliver door to door across the country overnight. It means that large chunks of capital are not tied up in stock / inventory, and warehousing operations can be centralised. Its called just in time delivery. Thats why all commercial enterprises back the trucking companies.

    In turn we taxpayers pay less for goods (thats the theory, may not be the practice) and in return pay taxes to subsidise the continual wreckage of our roads. So depressing and bloody boresome.

  4. George D 4

    If trucking contributes to the economy, there may be a case for a subsidy. But it should be argued on its merits, and openly described as such, something Joyce and others deliberately fail to do.

    Now that we own the rail again, it should be easy to compare the costs, and apportion the funding appropriately. This isn’t done yet, as far as I know.

    • Rob A 4.1

      The subsidies should be removed then we can have a good old fashioned free market battle between truck and rail. And with peak oil, in the long term we all know who’s going to come out on top.

  5. TightyRighty 5

    I agree with trucks having to pay their fair share, this is an externality of consumption that can be internalised through a system of appropriation from the trucking industry. there is one condition, small diesel powered cars should face lower RUC’s in exchange, as they consume less fuel and do not cause damage out of proportion to the number of axels they run.

  6. Huckleberry 6

    Perhaps we could crack-down on those 4WDers while we’re at it.

  7. The increase in road damage is proportional to the fourth-power of the increase in weight per axle. Although I do wonder whether there’s a limit to which increasing the number of axels reduces the damage.

    Let’s say your average car has 0.75 tonnes per axel (1.5t/2 axels). Your 53 tonne truck might have 8 axels, but it’s still 6.625 tonnes per axel. That’s 8.83 times more weight per axel.

    Multiply that by the fourth power and we find that a 53 tonne truck with 8 axels (do they have that many?) does as much road damage as around 6100 cars.

    Do they really pay 6100 times more tax per kilometre than I do when I drive around?

    Last year when petrol prices were high I worked out that it was costing me around 20c a kilometre in petrol to drive around. Let’s say that tax is around a quarter of that, so roughly 5c a kilometre. Multiply that by 6100 and it works out that a truck would need to pay $305 a kilometre in road user charges to REALLY actually pay their way at a comparable rate to someone driving their car.

    Are these trucks really likely to pay $305 a kilometre in RUCs? I doubt it.

    • Armchair Critic 7.1

      I think a 44 tonne truck curently pays up to about $44 per km. It looks like 53t trucks overloaded to 60t will pay up to $142 per km.

      • Armchair Critic 7.1.1

        And digging a bit further, after following Draco’ link from 1143, it appears that my comment and prices above were very much a worse case scenario.
        With a few assumption about weight distribution between truck and trailer, and assuming lots of axles and tyres, the lowest cost for RUCs for a 44t truck and trailer unit would be paying about 40c/km.
        Compared to $305/km for the equivalent amount of damage from cars. I think I see a big subsidy. Keen to have this refuted, is anyone from the RTF about?

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      Are these trucks really likely to pay $305 a kilometre in RUCs?

      No, they aren’t – but I wish to hell they were as it would help balance the discrepancies between truck use and rail.

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