Britain's biggest cities will be running London-style congestion charging schemes by 2011, it was forecast today.
And nationwide road tolling could be introduced as early as 2015, according to Autocar magazine.
Such a system was likely to use GPS satellite tracking or DSRC (Digital Short Range Communications) which uses microwaves to communicate with roadside beacons.
Both systems would require all vehicles to be fitted with an in-car kit that will cost around ?30 per car.
Autocar said that merely administering the nationwide system would cost around ?23billion.
This figure does not include fitting every car with the technology, or the "billions that will be required for the thousands of roadside beacons", the magazine added.
Transport Secretary Alistair Darling has already announced that plans are being looked at under which motorists could pay up to ?1.34 a mile to drive at the busiest times.
Rob Aherne, Autocar editor, said: "If you live in or near a major city, keep an eye on your local newspaper because a congestion charge in one form or another will be on its way very soon.
"The introduction of road charging will dramatically affect the way of life for a huge number of people, especially those who live in the countryside or just cannot afford to live near their place of work. Road charging could affect many people's quality of life."