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UK voters will be met with a choice which will affect generations to come when they decide on Britain’s membership in the EU, and it will be the first tie the public has had their say on whether Britain should remain in the EU for more than 40 years.
Voters must decide on whether they are in or out, but there’s such a lot to consider that the decision could be a very difficult one. Below Trusted Dealers makes sense of what Brexit could mean for motorists.
The freedom to drive abroad in the event of Brexit could be affected. Drivers may have to pay additional Customs controls at ports which could lead to delays on both sides of the Channel, in particular for commercial vehicles.
Britons regularly travel across the channel to stock up on cheap booze in french hypermarkets, to take advantage of lower alcohol taxes that can half the cost of a bottle of wine. The exit from the EU could see a drastic reduction in allowances – those outside Europe are restricted to just 200 cigarettes, 16 litres of beer and 4 litres of wine. Although, in the event of Brexit, duty-free shopping could be re-introduced.
Once inside the passport-free Schengen area, covering 26 states from Norway to Malta, drivers are unlikely to notice many differences and will be able to move freely, but the length of stay in Europe may be limited to 90 days without a visa.
Post-Brexit, in the event of an accident or illness, drivers would join Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein in the European Economic Area so healthcare costs would remain covered, in part, by the existing European Health Insurance Card.
Filling up has traditionally been cheaper in the rest of Europe but the price gap is likely to initially increase in the event of Brexit. The AA has predicted petrol prices could soar by 18.7p per litre meaning motorists operating two cars could end up £494 worse off each year. The AA’s claim is based on predictions by Goldman Sachs and HSBC that the pounds value could fall by 20% following Brexit. However, the RAC has argued that the impact on fuel prices will not be as bad as people think.
One of the EU’s recent policies was a ruling from the European Court of Justice that insurance companies could not take the gender of drivers into account with regard to car insurance premiums. Brexit could mean that this policy is abandoned meaning male drivers who are considered higher-risk could be penalised.
A report from the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and Deloitte has revealed that using your phone abroad could become more expensive if Britain leaves the EU. Fees for roaming are currently capped at 4p per minute for calls and 2p for texts and 4p per MB data, and are due to be cut to zero by June 2017. Brexit woudl exempt the EU from these regulations and we could see costs increase.
A survey by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) found that 77 per cent of motor industry related businesses are opposed to Brexit, with companies such as BMW even warning their UK staff that jobs could be at risk. Furthermore, the predicted devaluation of the pound and the undecided UK/EU tariffs could increase the cost of new cars, particularly ones imported from Europe.