Danish 180% Tax on Cars is Rather Irrelevant

Much is said and reblogged/tweeted about the famous 180% on cars in Denmark. Back when rationality was fashionable, this series of taxes was put into place to try and discourage people from driving but also to try and win some money back for society for the destructive nature of automobiles.We know, for example, that for every kilometre ridden by bike, the Danish coffers recieve 23 cents.

For every kilometre driven by car, the Danish state pays out 16 cents.

Those numbers are from the “Socio-economic analyses of bicycle initiatives – methods and cases”, produced by COWI in 2009.

For a more local feel, if you ride in Copenhagen from Øster Allé to Nørreport during rush hour here’s the societal benefit and loss:

Bicycle: 63 cents net profit for society. (3.65 DKK)
Car: $1.15 net loss to society. (6.59 DKK)

So you can see that it has previously been important to reclaim some of the money that we’ve been throwing into a big, bottomless hole by subsidising car culture. It’s basic economics.

Worth noting that these numbers reflect the aforementioned taxes on cars in Denmark. I think I’d throw up a little bit in my mouth if someone could calculate the net loss in countries without such taxes.