Foreign hauliers will now be charged for using British roads - one year ahead of the original schedule.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said that previously, UK truckers working in Europe have had to pay tolls and levies, while foreign vehicles have not been subject to the same payments.
The HGV road user levy is designed to enable British hauliers to compete with foreign drivers. The industry has long been a cheerleader for the levy, seeking to remove what it sees as an inequality.
Mr McLoughlin said the levy will create a "level playing field" on European roads, and it should put British firms on a better footing to win contracts.
He said it provides an example of "positive action" to get behind British businesses and build a stronger economy.
The Coalition Government pledged a fairer deal for British hauliers, with duty on standard diesel now lower than it was in late 2010. This Parliament has seen no rise in HGV vehicle excise duty, the minister added.
A total of £3.3 billion is also being invested in road schemes to provide more than 500 miles of extra lanes on the strategic road network.
RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: "For some time UK hauliers have been trying to compete with foreign trucks that don't have to pay to use our roads while our lorries driving abroad have to pay to use many roads. It's right that large foreign vehicles should have to contribute to the maintenance of our roads and the HGV road user levy should be the mechanism for that as all HGVs - UK and foreign - will have to pay it.
"Due to the structure of the levy and the changes made in paying Vehicle Excise Duty for UK-registered trucks, British hauliers are expected to end up paying similar amounts to those they were paying before. In time we will see whether this proves to be a benefit to UK hauliers in terms of competition with their continental rivals and how much money revenue is generated by foreign trucks using our roads."
Copyright Press Association 2014