Drivers who have been overpaying fuel charges over the years will start receiving refunds from July, the Directorate-General of Highways (DGH) said yesterday.
The decision was made after media reported that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications had overcharged drivers by about NT$1.1 billion (US$37.2 million) in fuel charges over a period of 29 years.
Hsieh Chieh-tien (謝界田), director of the DGH’s motor vehicle division, said it would refund motorists driving private-use small passenger vehicles and those operating commercial-use trucks.
Motorists in the former category have been overcharged NT$30 annually per person, while those in the latter category have been overpaying NT$157 each year.
Hsieh said the refunds would be issued in two stages, with the first stage affecting about 2.18 million vehicles still in active use. The overcharge will be automatically deducted from the fuel charge bill this year.
Owners of private-use small passenger vehicles would receive their bills in July, while those for commercial-use vehicles would arrive in September, he said.
The second stage will apply to owners who did not have their license plates replaced between 1983 and 1995, or those who have sold their cars or have had their cars scrapped since 1995.
Hsieh said those refunds would be deducted from the fee when they apply for a new driver’s license or they can also go to motor vehicle offices nationwide and get paid in cash.
“If the person does not claim the refund, we will note it on our system,” Hsieh said, adding that it would be a challenge to refund drivers in the second stage, as some may have passed away, while others cannot be found.
The ministry rejected a suggestion that the government pay accrued interest in addition to the overcharge.