Midland Expressway Limited has today increased the toll for driving on the M6, cementing its status as the UK’s most expensive road toll.
From now on, car drivers will have to pay £6.90 to access the road in the West Midlands, an increase of 20p over the previous charge. A return journey in a car will cost £13.80, meaning drivers who pass though the toll every weekday could pay up to £3615 a year.
The increase means that the M6 remains the most expensive toll in the UK. Now almost triple the cost of the Dartford Crossing, the next most expensive, which charges £2.50 for access, the M6 toll is seven times costlier than crossing the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Leasing expert Leasing Options noted that it would cost the equivalent of four tanks of petrol to travel through the toll for a month.
Leasing Options boss Mike Thompson said: “While some people have no other option to use these roads, it’s staggering the amount these toll charges can add up to when used on a daily basis.
“Our research shows that on average over the year, a commuter could pay £1264.15 [on toll roads across the UK]. That’s 3.5% of the average UK salary, which is a big amount to fork out over the year. The convenience can be great for the occasional user, but we feel it’s a big cost to take for some people with little other choice.”
Autocar has contacted Midland Expressway Limited for comment.
Introduced in 2003, the M6 toll spans 27 miles between Cannock and Coleshill. It was hailed as a way of relieving pressure on the congested motorway, but the move was controversial. Traffic on the motorway grew 4.5% in 2017; on average, 50,030 vehicles used it per day.
When it first arrived, the M6 toll for cars was £5.50, £1.40 less than it is today. However, this increase is quite a bit less than the rate of inflation. According to the Bank of England, if the toll had increased in line with rises of other goods and services, it would be closer to £9.
Despite the M6’s tolls controversy, the model could be about to be rolled out more widely as the government considers a road-pricing scheme to help fill the tax shortfall caused by the gradual switch to EVs. This switch has been accelerated by the announcement of its 2030 ban on the sale of new pure-ICE cars. Some hybrids will be allowed until 2035.
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