Last November, Dutch lawmakers approved the first “pay-as-you-drive” tax system in Europe. A GPS gizmo, promptly dubbed “Spionagekastje” (“spy box,”) by the Dutch, was supposed to record where and when people would drive in the land of cheese, tulips, and koffie shops. With the information collected by the mandatory kastje, the Dutch government intended to fleece its motorized citizenry according to distance driven, along with size and engine of the car. That concept immediately launched a discussion in Europe whether other countries should be given the same Dutch treat. The Netherlands won’t be setting a trend in that matter. Dearly beloved, the Spionagekastje is dead.
According to Germany’s Autohaus, the matter is “off the table.” The proposed law will not find enough votes in the Dutch parliament. Also, “most of Netherlands drivers are against the plan,” says Das Autohaus. It’s not that the lawmakers have second thoughts and have listened to the Dutch people. The reason is somewhere else: The ruling coalition in the Netherlands fell apart. Not over the spybox, over Dutch soldiers defending mom, apple pie and the poppy harvest in Afghanistan. There will be new elections in June. Traffic Minister Camiel Eurlings said he would leave politics. He still thinks the kastje is a good idea. He’s the fifth traffic minister in the Netherlands who had tried to reform the car tax and failed.