New Road Tax Plan For Motorways And A-Roads
Drivers who use motorways could be charged a higher rate of road tax than those who stick to slower routes.
According to reports, motorists face a two-tier road tax under proposals being considered by the Government.
It has been suggested drivers could be offered a lower rate of the tax if they agree not to use the country's trunk road network of motorways and major A-roads.
Those paying a higher rate of vehicle excise duty would be free to use any roads.
Proponents say a network of automatic number-plate recognition cameras could be used to catch any drivers who were using the motorways without paying the higher rate.
A Department For Transport (DFT) said: "The department and Treasury are currently carrying out a feasibility study to review new ownership and financing models for the strategic road network.
"This is looking at how best we can secure investment in the network to increase capacity and boost economic growth."
Governments have long sought to explore revenue generation options for road users.
Sky's Deputy Political Editor Joey Jones said: "The fact is when they look years down the line with people changing their pattern of road use - some people getting electric or hybrid vehicles, or vehicles that have lower emissions - that means they are going to be paying less in vehicle excise duty."
Money-raising concepts raised by previous governments have included expanding toll booths across the motorway network and a system based on mileage.
But a DFT spokesman added: "The Government has made clear it will not implement tolls on existing road capacity and has no plans to replace existing motoring taxes with pay-as-you-go road charging."
The AA said it was opposed to an overhaul of road tax.
"This is the last thing drivers want on top of high fuel prices," said spokesman Paul Watters.
"This would create a two-tier system on Britain's roads, which would push many drivers away from trunk roads and into towns and villages where congestion would increase.
"Governments keep coming back to the idea of charging motorists for the roads they use, but the costs of implementing such a scheme would be huge."
Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said that a scheme could work if the proceeds were used to improve the road network.
He said: "Ministers would go a long way to restoring trust among drivers if the proceeds were ring-fenced and ploughed back into road provision."
Dr Richard Wellings, head of transport at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said the road network had been "neglected" by successive governments.
"For too long British drivers have had to pay over the odds for a road network that is simply not up to scratch," he said.
"It is lamentable that this vital area of infrastructure has been neglected by government after government."
Road tax is currently paid based on a sliding scale of 13 bands from zero to more than £1,000 in the first year of registration.
Drivers pay according to how much carbon dioxide their vehicle produces.
Another option is to replace the annual road duty charge on cars with a one-off charge on new vehicles.