Davidstockholm
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Tax on airtravel compared to use of biofuel

Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:42 pm

Currently there are plans to introduce a tax on air travel in Sweden. Those arguing for it claims that it will reduce co2 emissions by some 160 000 tones. Now of course many factors come into play when trying to calculate how much a decrease in air travel will reduce emissions. It would however be interesting to a rough estimate on how say one or a few passengers less on a flight reduces fuel consumption for say a 737 on say a 400 km flight and say a 1500 km flight. Can anyone give me a suggestion? Is there point (load factor) beyond which an extra passenger notably affects fuel consumption?

Being strongly against the tax myself (as I believe sustainable fuel and technology is the way forward) I actively take part in the debate thus I would be grateful for any help in building my case :)
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Tax on airtravel compared to use of biofuel

Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:06 pm

I haven't studied the arguments for air travel taxes in Sweden but I suspect they're claiming CO2 emissions will decline due to price elasticity of demand: the tax will raise total air travel cost so fewer people will travel. I doubt they're arguing that X fewer passengers will travel and thus reduce fuel consumption (due to lower weight carried); instead I presume that they expect carriers to operate fewer flights.
 
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SamYeager2016
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Re: Tax on airtravel compared to use of biofuel

Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:18 pm

Why not look at how well, or not, such systems have done in other countries that have introduced them e.g. UK. Is Sweden producing an existing CO2 baseline by airlines? Will they publish airline CO2 production in subsequent years? What will be done with the income raised by this tax? If it's just going to the government then frankly my guess would be that it's just another way for the government to raise money whilst portraying it as a green tax.
 
Davidstockholm
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Re: Tax on airtravel compared to use of biofuel

Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:39 pm

It's definitely just a green washed extra tax since the income won't be invested in R&D. Still the argument is that "air travelers should pay for the pollution caused by the flight". But I believe that the claimed CO2 reduction is exaggerated. It demands that flights will either have to be discontinued or the load factor notably decreased. I suspect that in reality most flights will leave with only a few seats unsold and possibly also compensated with a bigger cargo loads.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Tax on airtravel compared to use of biofuel

Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:45 pm

I've once read an article about this saying that experts have concluded that the tax will cause a 0,2 percent emission reduction. Of course I don't know how objective this article is, but I imagine so.

Here in the Netherlands we've had a similar tax in the past, but it was scrapped about a year after it's introduction. People didn't fly any less, but they flew different. They drove all the way to Belgium and Germany to avoid this tax. Amsterdam saw fewer passengers, but Weeze (just across the border in Germany) was booming those days. Weeze may be a German airport, but certainly then more Dutch than German people flew out of Weeze.

Of course Sweden is a much bigger country, but I can more or less see the same thing happening there. Certainly when the tax is bound to the length of the flight. People will take a short-haul flight out of Sweden to connect to a long-haul flight on a foreign airport. Oslo, Copenhagen and Helsinki will profit from the Swedish tax.

In the title you also mention biofuel. While biofuel sounds environment-friendly, it really isn't. It's just a substitute for regular fuel, but it's just as polluting. Only in case of a shortage on regular fuel biofuel becomes interesting, it makes you less demanding on the oil producing countries.
 
Davidstockholm
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Re: Tax on airtravel compared to use of biofuel

Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:13 pm

Actually biofuel is less harmful according to NASA and their ACCESS study. A 50% blend reduces the effects on higher altitudes by 50-70%
 
Varsity1
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Re: Tax on airtravel compared to use of biofuel

Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:27 pm

I think a tax on air travel in places like Europe and the Northeast US are responsible given the short distances and rail alternatives available.

Doesn't matter what you think about airplanes, they are terrible polluters.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Tax on airtravel compared to use of biofuel

Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:41 pm

Varsity1 wrote:
I think a tax on air travel in places like Europe and the Northeast US are responsible given the short distances and rail alternatives available.

Doesn't matter what you think about airplanes, they are terrible polluters.


True, but how are you going to accomplish that? Specially in Europe where there are so many countries and they all got a different tax system. It'll always be the case that one country has a lower tax rate than the other and is therefor cheaper to fly out of.

But imagine you could accomplish that each country would handle the same tax rate, then still it would hardly reduce pollution. There'll always be demand for air travel, tax or no tax. Allright, leisure travel may be a bit lower but that's hardly noticable. Only when one country has a higher tax than it's neighbour then you get unneeded feeder traffic to that neighbouring country.

It's true that rail connections in Europe are fairly good, but you shouldn't overestimate them. They're still much slower than planes and often more expensive. Besides that, trains don't get you everywhere. Specially islands are hard to reach, and Europe has quite a few islands.
 
r2rho
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Re: Tax on airtravel compared to use of biofuel

Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:44 pm

Sounds exactly like APD in UK or Luftverkehrssteuer in DE - a tax levied with an environmental excuse that simply goes into the same bucket as other taxes, and is spent on things that have little to do with the environment.
As has been said, the only way this tax would reduce CO2 is by raising prices, thus making people fly less, thus reducing the number of flights.
In Germany, it has mainly hurt the regional airports, which have lost flights and have to be subsidized by tax money to stay open - one could argue that the tax is a zero sum in the overall scheme of things.

While biofuel sounds environment-friendly, it really isn't. It's just a substitute for regular fuel, but it's just as polluting.

There are biofuels and biofuels. Current car biofuels based on corn starch or sugar cane are an environmental and moral crime, pursued for political goals rather than efficiency. They would never work on airplanes anyway (low energy density, high freezing point, ...). The ones for airplanes are 2nd generation sustainable biofuels - meaning they don't compete for land or water resources, do not compete with food crops, and actually have a positive CO2 life-cycle balance.

I think a tax on air travel in places like Europe and the Northeast US are responsible given the short distances and rail alternatives available.

In Europe, where the train is competitive, it has already displaced air travel. In the NE corridor, it would if it were a bit faster. If you want to reduce flights, building HSR is more effective than a punishment tax, even if it may not feel as good to certain people.
 
Davidstockholm
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Re: Tax on airtravel compared to use of biofuel

Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:06 pm

@r2rho you don't happen to know any articles that covers the topic of the situation for the regional airports in Germany?
 
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Thunderboltdrgn
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Re: Tax on airtravel compared to use of biofuel

Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:11 pm

Building a HSR network costs big money which will come from... tax money.

It will also take a very long to build. A new Swedish HSR wouldn't be finished until 2035.
That is way too long and the technology used might be obsolete by then.

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