European taxpayers are paying €32 billion ($38 billion) each year on polluting petrol or diesel cars, according to a new study released this week by the environmental NGO Transport & Environment.
Six out of ten cars in Europe are owned by companies or organisations who give them to their employees to use. Almost all of these are powered by fossil fuels, the study finds, despite the increasing availability of electric vehicles. The 10 largest leasing companies alone – including BMW’s Alphabet and Daimler’s Athlon – cause 8% of EU car CO2 emissions because they are driven over twice as many miles as private cars, according to the study.
The problem is particularly acute in countries with high income tax that allow companies to pay employees with tax-free benefits instead of cash in order to lessen the heavy income