Do the math!
So we have a quandary for the Government. A countrywide fuel tax hike has been proposed – 10c a litre has been mentioned – ostensibly to upgrade rural roads. And that’s on top of the extra 10c a litre Auckland region motorists are going to have to fork out to pay for new public transport systems.
However, at the same time the Beehive lot want us all to switch to electric cars, with a target of 64,000 EVs in New Zealand by 2021. So… EV owners are currently exempt from road user charges, and will be until December 2021. They don’t pay any petrol taxes, and they pay reduced ACC levies. A dichotomy of note. Yet with all these incentives, the uptake on EVs hasn’t been as quick as it might have been, and most of them are imported used Nissan Leafs, with their limited range and, on ex-UK cars, reports of over-rapid battery deterioration.
Strangely enough the best-selling EV for the first quarter of this year has been the Tesla Model S, which tells you something about the demographics of owners of new EVs, since the lowest-priced version comes in at over $120,000 (including on-road costs). And will save (according to Tesla) $5,000 in petrol over five years.
Yes, there are less-expensive EVs coming into the mix, and this will continue, hopefully at the same time bringing down prices.
But already the uptake on EVs has slowed down, although electric charging systems provider Chargemaster says the drop-off can be attributed a stink bug infestations that interrupted imports of used cars out of Asia. Or maybe the pent-up demand from early adopters is drying up.
Whatever, what none of this addresses is the fact that the average age of the around four-million car parc in New Zealand is 14 years. And one has to wonder if it wouldn’t be better for the Government to concentrate on getting lots of people out of their old, gas-guzzling pollutant vehicles and into more modern ones which use less petrol and don’t pump out nearly as much CO2, rather than spending money on putting a relatively few people into vehicles that emit no CO2.
As Americans say, “Do the math.”