The state should offer tax incentives to drivers who take extra passengers in return for a fee, according to a new report from the Finnish Transport Safety Agency. The report suggests allowing people to keep up to 2,000 euros of proceeds from such lift-sharing without being liable to tax.
That’s because currently drivers take very few others into their cars. The study showed that on average, those driving to work have just 0.2 of a passenger with them—so only one in five takes an extra person to work. For other journeys the figure is higher at 0.8 passengers, but there is still room for improvement.
The report suggests that if the number of passengers per car increases, emissions and congestion would fall. It would also reduce dependence on imported oil. Finland currently buys billions of euros’ worth of oil each year, much of it from Russia.
Personal vehicles and their fuel requirements account for a deficit of about three billion euros in foreign oil purchases.
The report’s authors envisage people buying shopping for elderly neighbours shopping for instance, for a small fee, or setting up a car-pool with colleagues.
“We hope that the incoming government will create an experimental culture,” said report co-author Harri Paloheimo. The report is not an official policy proposal, but a suggestion for the new government to consider.