Taxes a setback to 2050 targets: Electric Vehicle Council

The Electric Vehicle Council has urged state governments to clarify whether they intend to push forward with electric vehicle taxes.

Following decisions by the governments of Victoria and South Australia to introduce new taxes for electric vehicles concerns have been raised that neither state will be able to meet the 2050 zero greenhouse gas emissions targets set under the auspices of the climate change movement.

New research from the University of Queensland claims the electric vehicle taxes will prove preventative to meeting the ambition.

The impact of such taxes, according to research by Dr Jake Whitehead, suggest that the move will reduce electric vehicle uptake by 50 per cent.

When 90 per cent of cars on the roads must be electric by 2050 for zero emission targets to be viable any hit to uptake across consumers or industry will be disastrous for those pushing for a short term net zero future.

Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said state governments needed to pick a position.

“State governments need to decide, do they want to introduce a tax on electric cars or do they want to commit to zero emissions by 2050? The research shows unequivocally they cannot do both,” he said in a statement.

“You don’t need advanced economics to understand that applying a big new tax on something discourages its consumption. These proposed state taxes will badly stunt Australia’s electric vehicle uptake before it even had a chance to get started,” said Jafari.

“These taxes are like replacing declining tobacco excise with a new tax on nicotine patches. They are madness. And that’s why a few Australian states are so far the only jurisdictions in the world silly enough to flag this policy approach at this point in global history.”

Not all of industry, however, share the same sentiments.

Responding to the proposal, which is set to commence from 1 July next year, Victorian Transport Association CEO Peter Anderson said that as electric vehicles became increasingly popular in response to government incentives to increase sales, it was essential to start to factor in a mechanism for recovering road user charge revenue lost from an expected reduction in conventional petrol/diesel vehicles, over time.

“The South Australian government is to be applauded for taking a leadership role in anticipating the need for a mechanism to charge electric vehicle drivers for using the roads, just as heavy vehicle and petrol-driven passenger vehicle drivers have been paying for decades,” Anderson said.

“While electric vehicles are not expected to overtake sales of petrol and diesel fuelled cars for some time, these vehicles are the way of the future as governments around the world incentivise their purchase to help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. At some point EV drivers will need to contribute to the maintenance and upkeep of the nation’s transport infrastructure so it’s only fair that they also contribute to the road user charge,” he said.

According to Jafari, Whitehead’s research, which was recently latched onto by the Sydney Morning Herald, made it clear that State Treasurers cannot be allowed to continue deceiving the public.

“You’re either for an electric vehicle tax or you’re for a 2050 zero target. You cannot be for both,” he said.

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