Record number of cars on Danish roads

Expert: Higher taxes, road pricing and dearer petrol could be the solution

The government in Denmark might be spending billions of kroner on improving public transport, but more Danes than ever are driving cars.

According to new figures from the road authority Vejdirektoratet, the number of cars on the roads increased by 2.5 percent during the first 11 months of 2014 compared to the year before, surpassing the all-time record set in 2008.

Furthermore, never before have so many cars been sold in Denmark as was the case in 2014, a trend that looks set to continue. Parliament wants the majority of future traffic growth to take place in public transport, but that could prove difficult.

”If that is to succeed, then it must become more expensive to drive cars,” Harry Lahrmann, a traffic researcher from Aalborg University, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. ”They either need to raise car taxes, particularly on micro cars, make petrol more expensive or establish road pricing – or do all three.”

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Build it and they will come
Rasmus Prehn, the spokesperson for traffic issues for government coalition party Socialdemokraterne, rejected the idea to make driving cars more expensive.

”When more people are driving cars and the traffic increases, it's a sign that Denmark is on its way out of the crisis,” Prehn told Jyllands-Posten.

”There is nothing wrong with people owning a car and it shouldn't be more expensive to drive one. I think far more people will choose public transport once we are finished with the ongoing improvements.”