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经济学人:燃油税 逍遥骑士

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Fuel duty

燃油税
Easy riders
逍遥骑士
The fuel duty freeze is politically astute but financially ill-judged
冻结燃油税—高明的政治决定,欠妥的经济策略
Pump priming
泵水政策—经济刺激政策
ON December 3rd George Osborne confirmed that he would not increase the price of fuel duty, an unpopular tax on motorists. Soon Mr Osborne will have overseen the longest freeze of fuel taxes in 20 years. Motorists are rejoicing. But though politically savvy, the chancellor's move is unlikely to last long.
12月3日,乔治·奥斯本证实不会上调有车一族不喜欢的燃油税这一消息。有车一族并不欢迎燃油税。不久,在未来的20年内,奥斯本将一直监督最长的燃油税冻结。有车一族欣喜若狂。尽管政治上给出了优惠,但是财政大臣的这一举措似乎不会长久地实行下去。

The Treasury argued in April that the freeze, which will have reduced fuel duty by 13% in real terms by the end of this parliament, boosts spending elsewhere in the economy by helping cash-strapped consumers. But parts of the Treasury's analysis already look dated. Since that report was published, the oil price has tumbled by 37%, from $113 a barrel to $71. This continues to reduce prices at the pump. The oil price is now beneath the $75-a-barrel threshold at which the chancellor has previously suggested he would raise the duty.

财政部在4月份发表声明说由于此次冻结,燃油税将在国会换届前实际下降13%,通过帮助资金紧张的消费者在其他方面增加消费。但是财政部的部分分析已经过时了。自报告发布以来,油价已暴跌了37%,从每桶113美元的价格下降至每桶71美元。这也使得加油站的油价持续下跌。油价现已低于每桶75美元,这已经达到了奥斯本之前承诺提高燃油税的临界值。
Mr Osborne—with an eye on the election—was quick to rule this out. But if the oil price stays down, the next chancellor might struggle to resist the temptation, especially as driving has already got cheaper. Cars are around a third more efficient than a decade ago. The price of a new car has risen only slowly since 2007, while that of a second-hand one has plummeted. Since 2004 the overall cost of motoring has lagged inflation. And the average distance of journeys fell by 12% between 1995 and 2013.
奥斯本—着眼于下一届选举—迅速排除了这一威胁。但是只要油价持续下降,下一任财政大臣可能难拒诱惑,尤其是在开车成本越来越低的情况下。汽车的效能大约比十年前增加33%。自2007以来,新车的价格增长非常缓慢,而二手车的价格却直线下降。2004年起,驾驶的总成本已经滞后于通货膨胀。1995年至2013年,驾驶的平均距离下降了12%。
Despite the freeze, taxes still account for 64% of the petrol price, which is 1.21 ($1.90) per litre. They make up 63% of the price of diesel, which costs 1.26 per litre. This is higher than in most countries.
尽管燃油税得到冻结,税收仍然占到汽油价格—每升1.21英镑(合1.9美元)—的64%,占到柴油价格(每升1.26英镑)的63%。与大多数国家相比,这个数额要高出许多。
There is a strong environmental case for the tax, which helps to reduce pollution and congestion. Drivers may delight in cheaper fuel, but not if they have to sit in miles of traffic queues and collectively hurt the environment. And unlike some other taxes, fuel duty is easy to collect. It is far less toxic than road pricing or congestion charges. It is a fairer tax than the vehicle excise duty: those who travel the farthest pay the most. This also makes it greener, says Stephen Joseph of the Campaign for Better Transport, a lobby group. And the tax is lucrative: each year fuel duty brings in around 27 billion, making it the sixth-largest source of government revenue. Mr Osborne's policy may yet be put into reverse.
征收燃油税很大程度上是考虑环境因素的结果,有助于减少环境污染和交通拥堵。人们乐于使用更便宜的燃料,但绝不希望因此困于冗长的交通拥挤而造成对环境的集体伤害。与其他税收不一样,燃油税很容易征收。它比道路收费和交通拥堵费无害的多,也比根据旅行路程来征收的汽车消费税公平的多。一名来自游说组织 the Campaign for Better Transport的成员斯蒂芬·约瑟夫说道,燃油税也更加环保。这一税收也带来了十分丰厚的利润:每年产生270亿燃油税,是政府收入的第六大来源。而奥斯本的政策可能会逆转这一情况。译者:胡雅琳 校对:石海霞
译文属译生译世

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treasury ['treʒəri]

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n. 国库,宝库 (大写)财政部,国债

 
pollution [pə'lu:ʃən]

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n. 污染,污染物

 
toxic ['tɔksik]

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adj. 有毒的
n. 有毒物质

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stable ['steibl]

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adj. 稳定的,安定的,可靠的
n. 马厩,

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reform [ri'fɔ:m]

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v. 改革,改造,革新
n. 改革,改良

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astute [əs'tju:t]

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adj. 机敏的,精明的,狡猾的

 
temptation [temp'teiʃən]

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survive [sə'vaiv]

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vt. 比 ... 活得长,幸免于难,艰难度过

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