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Size, Structure and Distribution of Transport Subsidies in Europe

Size, Structure and Distribution of Transport Subsidies in Europe

The transport sector has significant environmental impacts and subsidies are a significant piece of the policy framework that influences public and private decisions about transport. This report, which was published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and co-authored by Ecologic, provides a comprehensive picture of transport subsidies, classifying them by subsidy type and transport mode.

In this first-ever report quantifying European transport subsidies, subsidies are estimated worth at EUR 270 to 290 billion per year. The majority of these annual subsidies go to road transport (EUR 125 billion), with rail receiving EUR 73 billion, aviation receiving EUR 27-35 billion and water-borne transport receiving 14-30 billion per year.

The report [pdf, 729 KB, English] is available for download.

The report is a result of the project Transport Subsidies in Europe. In this project, Ecologic was responsible for the study design, data presentation and final report. Project partners included CE Delft and TU Dresden.


European Environment Agency 2007: Size, structure and distribution of transport subsidies in Europe. EEA Technical report No 3/2007. ISSN 1725-2237, ISBN 978-92-9167-918-8. Copenhagen: EEA. This publication is available in English an German.

English, German
Huib van Essen
Arno Schroten
Udo Becker
Regine Gerike
Published In
EEA Technical reports
36 pp.
Project ID
Table of Contents


1 Introduction
1.1 Background
1.2 Study approach and methodology
1.3 Structure of this report

2 Definition, classification and environmental relevance of transport subsidies
2.1 Definition of transport subsidies
2.2 Classification for transport subsidies
2.3 Environmental impacts of transport subsidies
2.4 Subsidy impact on sustainable transport

3 Empirical findings for European transport subsidies
3.1 Total transport subsidies
3.2 On-budget subsidies
3.3 Differences in fuel excise axes
3.4 Exemptions and debates from VAT on passenger services
3.5 Summary by mode

4 Transport subsidies in context
4.1 Subsidies related aspects
4.2 Further determinants for the competition between transport modes

5 Assessment for the data quality
5.1 The data gathering process
5.2 Cleaning the data

6 Conclusions

7 References

Annex 1 List of sources consulted
Annex 2 Brief guide to the data sources for European transport subsidies

transport, subsidy, environment, impact, quantification,