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2019.12.13 14:00

Tax on polluting cars makes headway in Lithuanian parliament

The Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union's initiative to tax polluting cars is making its way through the parliament. 

The proposal calls for imposing a registration fee between 13.5 and 540 euros on vehicles with CO2 emissions over 130g/km, except for vintage cars, starting next April. It would have to be paid every time a car is registered or reregistered.

The bill passed the second reading in the Seimas on Friday in a vote of 51 to 36 with six abstentions and will now be put up for a final vote next week.

"We are introducing a tax that is a way lower than similar taxes in other countries," Ramūnas Karbauskis, the Farmers and Greens' leader, told reporters after the Friday's vote.

For example, a Volkswagen Golf is taxed three or four times more in Latvia than in Lithuania, he said.

When asked why the new tax will not apply to farmers, Karbauskis said they are already competing with their peers in Western Europe on unequal terms and are discriminated against.

Virginija Vingriene, a member of the Seimas Committee on Environment Protection, said "this is [only] a small step toward reducing pollution, but a step [nevertheless]".

Conservative MP Mykolas Majauskas estimates that around 170,000 vehicles registered in Lithuania for the first time and another 207,000 cars changing owners would be subject to the tax every year.

The new tax would bring an estimated 19 million to 20 million euros in budget revenue annually.