Leaked reports show governments warned that taxes on electric vehicles would hurt adoption
Leaked reports show governments have been warned that the introduction of new taxes targeted at electric vehicle users would significantly discourage adoption of zero-emission vehicles and generate strong opposition from industry groups. environment and transport.
The reports, prepared by the Board of Treasurers, an intergovernmental group made up of representatives from each of Australia’s states and territories, examined the impacts of potential “road user charges” in electric vehicles, as envisioned. by Victoria and South Australia. , to increase government revenues.
The Treasury Board warned governments that such measures were “likely to discourage [zero emissions electric vehicle] adoption ”and“ hamper the government process on transport sector commitments ”to reduce emissions.
The report also warned that the implementation of such charges would meet “strong opposition from industry and environmental players”, a warning that has already been held true in light of the industry’s backlash in response to proposals.
Several state governments are considering introducing road charges for electric vehicles, to account for reduced excise revenue on fuel, as electric vehicle owners do not need to pay for the fuels. , the price of which contains a tax component.
Governments have argued that some form of tax would be needed to ensure funding for road and infrastructure maintenance, but proponents of electric vehicles responded by saying that proposed road charges are ill-conceived, often imposing charges. taxes higher than those which would be paid with an equivalent fuel. and undermine efforts to support greater adoption of electric vehicles.
Advocates have also argued that the introduction of a new targeted tax on electric vehicles also ignores the wider community benefits of zero-emission transport, including reduced emissions and avoided air pollution.
The Australian Institute’s climate and energy program director Richie Merzian said the report showed there were substantial risks created by the proposed introduction of new taxes on electric vehicles.
“Privacy issues, practical difficulties, constitutional concerns and discouraging the adoption of electric vehicles are just a few of the issues highlighted in this discussion paper,” Merzian said.
“Electric vehicles are a cleaner, quieter and safer transportation alternative. Now is not the time to impose a massive new tax on this emerging industry. Governments need to pause on this half-baked policy proposal and come back after conducting appropriate consultation with industry and community representatives. “
“It is ironic that states with net zero emissions targets are now pulling the handbrake to reduce pollution from one of the most emitting sections,” Merzian added.
The report also warns that the introduction of highway user charges in some states could see owners of electric vehicles transfer their registrations to states without such charges, creating a license “leakage” problem that could ultimately amplify the problem of reducing government revenues.
Governments are considering a range of ways to monitor and enforce these road use taxes, including the use of odometer reports, to the installation of GPS tracking devices on vehicles.
Leak reports indicate that using GPS trackers on electric vehicles would allow greater levels of automation in reporting, as well as concessions based on time of use and location, but would raise significant privacy and security concerns, which could harm any community. the acceptance of a right of use of the road.
Michael Mazengarb is a journalist at RenewEconomy, based in Sydney. Prior to joining RenewEconomy, Michael worked in the renewable energy industry for over a decade.