Logistics expertise 29.04.2024

How the new Road tolls in Europe impact your UK logistics business

How new Road tolls in Europe impact your Business

Picture - road tolls

There are lots of different costs you have to consider before you even put your heavy goods vehicle on the road, which can be overwhelming. From customs regulations to road tolls, these are all costs you have to incorporate to ensure you stay competitive and are profitable.

With TIMOCOM you can plan your route in advance to consider your costs. You can also track your vehicles in real time, should there be any changes to your plans, such as having to go on a toll road because another route was closed.

It can also help you find partners to take full truck loads instead of half or empty loads through the freight exchange. There are up to 1 million international freight and vehicle offers daily allowing you to quickly and easily find a vetted partner.

Get a free trial of TIMOCOM to find out how it can help improve your business’ efficiency.


Most important road toll changes

Road tolls in Europe are not fixed, with some countries changing them every year. Others change them in line with inflation or legislation.

Recent EU legislation to promote sustainable road freight has been implemented. The main changes being a charge for your vehicles level of carbon emissions and a noise and pollution charge. These have been introduced in various countries including the following:



From 1st January 2023, Belgium introduced higher toll rates including in Flanders, Brussels, and Wallonia. This was mainly due to rising inflation and costs.

Czech Republic

Czech Republic has transitioned from paper to digital vignettes. Like a lot of other countries, they added a noise and pollution charge.

This will affect all categories of vehicles and in addition to the three existing components of their road toll, there will be a fourth to include C02 emissions.


Road tolls in Hungary increased in proportion to the change in the consumer price index.


For non-UK registered HGVs, there is a HGV levy service but for UK registered HGVs this levy is paid with their vehicle excise duty.

This duty applies to heavy goods vehicles of 12,000kg and more and includes the vehicle weight (as an estimate of their C02 emissions), vehicle air quality emissions and the levy duration.

This levy was suspended but a reformed levy has been applied from August 2023 to reflect the environmental performance of the vehicle.


Road tolls in Germany, like other countries, increased after the reforms to truck tolls in 2023 and 2024. The Amended Federal Trunk Road Toll Act (BFStrMG) includes a toll on carbon emissions and a noise and air pollution charge.

In line with the European Directive, Germany have introduced the new emission classes. There are now five emission classes and weight classes.

The new road tolls are distance-based instead of time-based to promote more sustainable practice and to eliminate distortions of competition in road transport.


Why are you charged road toll?

Road tolls are charged for several reasons including:


It costs a lot to build these roads or tunnels and initially the road toll goes towards paying this off. The road toll is also to maintain the road as over time and with a lot of traffic, there will be potholes and other issues. This is not just for the convenience of drivers but for safety too. There is also growing demand for better or expanded infrastructure and road tolls can go towards creating a better road system which not helps with congestion and travel times but encourages business to that area.


One of the main reasons for this new change to road toll charges is to make road freight more sustainable.This is why natural gas vehicles are exempt in some countries and why the charge includes your vehicles carbon emissions. By doing this, they hope road freight companies will make sustainable decisions, such as investing in more eco-friendly vehicles which would have lower carbon emissions. By creating these new distance-based tolls, it can reduce air pollution from road transport, partially due to upgrades to more sustainable vehicles.

Contribute to road transport sector

The road charges have to reflect any increases in inflation. This not only generates revenue for the public budget to possibly improve transport efficiency, but it can have a positive impact on the freight industry. It can help enhance transport efficiency and help cut down on empty loads. Research shows the introduction of road tolls in Germany led to a decrease in empty runnings. It also helps the road freight industry because it can reduce the vehicle km needed because the vehicles improve their loading rates due to price pressure.


Which EU countries have tolls?

Many countries in Europe have road tolls including:

  • UK
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Ireland
  • Netherlands
  • Austria
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Poland

Northern European countries such as Norway and Southern Europe such as Greece, Italy, Serbia, and Spain also have road tolls. Eastern Europe countries including Belarus, Romania, and Turkey also charge vehicles a road tax.


The impact of road tolls for UK companies in EU

While these road tolls do mean an added cost for your business, it does not always impact consumer prices. Want to learn more about road tolls and how they might affect your business and companies? Meet us the Multimodal fair in Birmingham. 

We are excited to announce our speaker slot on the 12th of June at 12:30. The location will be the showcase room. You can also find us at Booth 7040 for a chat.


Increase efficiency

Road tolls can increase efficiency for the road freight industry because there can be 20% of empty trucks on European roads and road tolls can decrease this.

Using freight exchanges, road freight companies, can find partners to fill their trucks to avoid empty loads which improves their profitability and efficiency.

Decision making

Logistics companies are encouraged to make more sustainable decisions, such as investing in vehicle fleets with less emissions to reduce their costs.

This not only helps the companies save on road tolls and other vehicle costs, but more consumers are choosing sustainable businesses. Showing you are making sustainable decisions helps to attract more customers who are willing to pay more.


It has been proven that road toll prices don’t have a noticeable impact on consumer prices as truck drivers can pass the toll on to their clients.

Reduces congestion

Road freight companies can choose more quieter routes without motorway tolls which helps with congestion.


How much are toll roads?

The cost of road tolls varies by country but it tends to range from 0.076 to 0.206 euros per kilometre.


How to pay road tolls in Europe

There has been a move away from manual payments and vignettes in recent years with the introduction of digital payments. Vignettes are insufficient and the new distance-based electronic systems can recover greater revenue for the public budget while reducing external costs of truck use.

To pay road tolls in Europe, you can use an on-board unit or subscription, or mobile app and websites.

There are various automatic on-board payment units, but you need to make sure these are compatible with all countries you intend to travel in. Payments for on-board units need to be topped up in advance and the appropriate road toll amount is deducted based on your location.


Tips for dealing with road tolls

Below are the topics you need to take into consideration when dealing with road tolls when transporting across borders. 

Plan your route

You may be able to avoid going on toll roads and evade these increased road taxes by planning your route before you travel.

Understand charges

Make sure you know before you travel, what international tolls you will be expected to pay. You can then incorporate this into your price to ensure you are profitable.

Pay quickly

It is best to pay road tolls before you travel or as quickly as you can. Not only can you forget to do this, but you can be fined for failing to pay your road toll.


Road Tolls Europe

The changes to road tolls in Europe may seem like another expense at first, but when taking a broader perspective, they offer an opportunity to become more sustainable, efficient, and profitable. A freight forwarder can help you streamline your current processes to take advantage of these opportunities.

Tram Trinh Thanh

Marketing Manager Northern Europe

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