The heavy goods vehicle charge (HGVC) was introduced in 2001. Its purpose is to cover the road costs that are not covered by other services or taxes, and the external costs of lorry traffic, which triggers damage to the environment, human health etc. The burden of the HGVC may not exceed the costs caused by HGV traffic. In addition, under the Land Transport Agreement with the EU , the HGVC may be a weighted average of max. CHF 325 for a single trip from frontier to frontier (reference route Basel – Chiasso 300 km).
The HGVC applies to trips by lorries weighing more than 3.5 tonnes. It is measured according to the highest permissible total weight, the kilometres travelled in Switzerland, and the emission category of the towing vehicle. Vehicles with modern, clean motors pay less than old lorries. The HGVC is levied by the Federal Customs Authority (FCA). One third of the revenues go to the cantons, and two thirds to the Confederation. In 2016 the net revenue was CHF 1.45 billion.
The HGVC is an important element of the Swiss modal shift policy. The Confederation uses its share of the revenues primarily to finance rail infrastructure. Introducing the HGVC made it possible to create true-cost pricing and a level playing field between freight transport by road and rail.