Aussie Government: End the Free Ride for Electric Cars

Image from Tesla’s website

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Australian Federal Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher wants a new system of road charging, which ends the free ride enjoyed by electric cars which do not have to pay fuel tax.

Electric cars are breaking our roads, here’s how

And what the future holds for the neighbourhoods that need their cars the most.

By Jackson Gothe-Snape

In 2018, Australia’s roads are plagued with problems: the long-term decline in the road death toll has slowed, congestion is tipped to increase and long commutes are linked to poor mental health.

And now a multi-billion-dollar road funding black hole looms.

It’s caused by the growing popularity of fuel-efficient cars, prompting a multi-generational reset to national roads policy which will change how you pay to drive.

For the people who rely most on their vehicles, that means trouble.

A Tesla-shaped loophole

Fuel excise means — for most drivers at least — the more they drive, the more they pay.

However, low-emission vehicles are letting some drivers get away charge-free.

The CSIRO has predicted revenue coming from fuel excise will drop by almost half by 2050.

Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher argues the current road funding system has “some features that don’t seem very fair”.

“If you’re buying a 10-year-old Commodore, the amount you’re paying is effectively four-and-a-half cents per kilometre.”

The Federal Government is looking at ways to more closely link how people use the roads with what they pay.

Read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-15/electric-cars-breaking-australia-roads-reform-road-user-charging/9235564

The EV honeymoon was never going to last. The current Australian government, to their credit, seem keen to balance the Federal budget. Rich electric car owners are a tax plum ripe for the plucking.

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156 thoughts on “Aussie Government: End the Free Ride for Electric Cars

  1. The same thing is happening in the U.S. The tax-free joyride of electric and hybrid-electric vehicle owners is moving to an end. These vehicles have been damaging the roads and cities for free for years. A few States and the U.S. Government are looking at “vehicle miles traveled” (VMT) standards and other fees to rope in plug-in vehicles to make up for the tax revenue not collected via petrol taxes. Electric vehicle advocates are not happy to see their free ride end.
    Under the current U.S. system., unlike most other industrialized countries, funds for road construction and repair come directly from local, State and Federal petrol taxes which are paid at the petrol station. Revenue from petrol taxes, which range from thirty-two to thirty-five cents per gallon in Wyoming and parts of the South, to over sixty-five cents per gallon in States like New York and California.
    Three states, Oregon, Washington and Texas are looking at various ways of getting electric cars and hybrid vehicles into the pot. The U.S. Government is looking for ways to stabilize transportation revenue. The Federal petrol tax has not increased since 1993 and the government has transferred about twenty billion dollars from general revenue into the Federal Highway trust fund since 2008.

    • As an Oregonian I’ve got to offer a correction. Our legislators started complaining long before EV’s and Hybrids came around that more money is needed. They used to blame just more fuel efficient cars as why our gas tax needs to increase. The reality is we have a voter initiative system that has allowed us to vote down gas tax increases in the past so they are trying and end run around on us with a mileage tax by blaming cars that pay little to no tax. You know, rabble rousing by blaming those who can afford to circumvent taxes by buying new cars that the poor can’t afford.

      In reality we may need an increase but what we really need is the money they do get spent better. Stop using state road tax money on light rail in Portland at an average of 200 million a mile that only 3% of the cities population rides. Get rid of the state requirement that union scale wages are paid on all state construction products even when the labor is non union (wages can easily double when a private company does work for the state). Get rid of the bloated ODOT that is full of job descriptions that fly a desk for a living and don’t directly repair roads. Then come talk to me about raising taxes.

      • There aren’t enough e-cars on the road to make any difference. This all sounds like an excuse to hike fuel taxes.

        For example in Canada they pay $4/gallon for gasoline, but their roads are awful. The road tax money merely goes into general revenues. Governments pull this trick everywhere.

        Never give governments another excuse to hike taxes.

      • “As an Oregonian I’ve got to offer a correction. Our legislators started complaining long before EV’s and Hybrids came around that more money is needed.”

        As I understand it road damage is related to the 4th power of axle loading. Most of the road repair spend will be related to buses/coaches and to HGV’s, cars in general let alone the small percentage of EV’s are a non-issue with regard to funding road repair.

      • ‘ road damage is related to the 4th power of axle loading. ‘ Axle load may be the major cause of road damage but there are other factors such as the weather. Politician solution: tax the weather.

      • “For example in Canada they pay $4/gallon for gasoline, but their roads are awful.”

        The roads in Canada are better than the roads I used to drive on in the UK, and I was paying the equivalent of nearly $10 a gallon over there, vs about $3 a gallon here. OK, once you get off the main highways, the roads are unpaved gravel, but no-one wants to pay the maintenance costs for cold weather damage to asphalt on roads that few people use.

        If you really want an example of the abuse of ‘road tax’, the UK is the one to go for. When I left, something like 20% of the taxes collected from road users were actually being spent on roads. The other 80% was thrown into general taxation.

      • Mark G, you must live in Alberta if you’re only paying $3 per gallon for gas. I live in BC, and in my city it’s currently between $4 and $5 per gallon. In the Greater Vancouver Regional District, they pay something like 22 cents just for the transit tax (not to mention all the other taxes we Canadians pay on fuel), so they are consistently around $5 per gallon.

      • Roads in Canada are worse than many roads in the US, but Canadian roads have to endure more severe conditions. American roads closest to the 48th Parallel are the worst that I have ever seen. The interstates in Minnesota and North Dakota were actually rutted by passage of heavy dual wheeled axles– something that I have never seen in Canada, although I have not taken the drive to Fort MacMurray.

        I watched a short video on road construction with horrid disbelief, as the the road surface was poured concrete and the narration suggested that this was not done after each and every winter. Finally, I realized that this was in the southern US, and concrete fares much better.

      • Pennsylvania takes the top spot, with a combined state and federal taxes totaling 77.70 cents per gallon. Washington has the second-highest rate at 67.80. Next on the list are Hawaii, New York and Indiana, all of which crack the ‘60s at 62.88 cents, 62.44 cents and 60.30 cents, respectively.

        However, when the California excise tax increases fully take effect in July 2019 — going up to 47.3 cents per gallon — the combined gas tax in California will jump to an estimated 76.7 cents per gallon, assuming a 9 cent sales tax rate and the current 2 cent underground storage tank fee.

        With California Gas Tax potentially reaching 76 cents per gallon next year, and the average fuel economy being just over 20 MPG the taxes work out to just over under 4 cents per mile. If you drive 10,000 miles per year this equates to around $400 per year. If all cars had an odometer built into their onboard computer that couldn’t be tampered with, the actual miles driven could be gathered during smog checks or mandatory annual EV inspections and the appropriate fees gathered with State Income Tax. Of course States without Income Tax would need to set up their own reporting and fee gathering process.

      • You just cannot win when liberals,progressives/leftists are in charge of local government. Money intended for streets, roads, and highways building, repair and maintenance is collected via fuel taxes, by bonds, sales tax, etc. in many cities and counties governed by lefties. Somehow they are unable to spend those funds as intended. Rather, the funds are spent for pet projects (bread and circuses), illegal aliens and their votes, and anything to help them remain in power.
        Last year we took a road trip from a leftist controlled city and county in Arizona through New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah and return. The moment we left Pima County until we returned the roads were much, much better.
        But, we do have a giant balloon for “space flights”, a multi-million dollar overpass for wildlife protection (when every other state in the West uses box culverts and fencing to protect wildlife), sanctuary cities, etc..
        Alas, this county and city were with the Confederates in the 1860’s and have had one party leadership (Democrats) since then.
        You all know what one party rule brings, especially left wing Democrat Party rule, leads to bad government.
        But are roots are here and for various reasons we cannot move.

      • When you get that figured out, pass it on to California, one of, if not the highest gasoline taxed States . Used the last 30 years of gas taxes, intended for road repair, for something..Nobody knows and now Jerry implemented another huge increase in gas taxes, and we don’t seem to have a say, unless you vote for the Democratic party.

      • “MarkG January 15, 2018 at 6:51 am

        If you really want an example of the abuse of ‘road tax’, the UK is the one to go for. When I left, something like 20% of the taxes collected from road users were actually being spent on roads. The other 80% was thrown into general taxation.”

        The road fund license, to give it it’s correct name and purpose, is a very good example. When I left the UK for New Zealand in 1995 the fund raised the equivalent of 75% of the GDP of NZ (NZ$75bil) on private vehicles alone and only a fraction was spent on roads.

        It’s the same in NZ. Road User Charges are applied to fuel and raise about NZ$1bil. That goes in to the consolidated fund and most is not spent on what it was raised for.

      • The problem with virtually every Gas Tax for Road Repair proposition that has been placed on the California state ballot is that they are ALL worded such that the taxes are “Paid Into the General Fund” which then allows the money to be spent on Anything Anywhere and not just road repairs

    • US oil companies make about five cents off a single gallon of gasoline, on the other hand US Big Government taxes on a single gallon are around seventy-one cents for US states & rising, the tax is now $1.00 per gallon for CA, that’s BEFORE FED. TAXES.
      IOW, greedy US governments make fourteen to twenty times what oil companies make and it is the oil companies who make & deliver the vital product to the marketplace.
      It’s Big Government, not Big Oil.

  2. There are many ways to charge for usage of road-space. Most of them are very expensive as they either require a gadget of some sort in every single car to transmit its location, or large expensive and ugly overhead booms at major artery entries and exits with cameras and so on.

    The problem with the first option is self-evident – every single car has to be equipped with a gadget like a mobile phone with GPS. The problem with the second option is that it is impractical to do it other that at major bottle-necks for traffic – like in London, Oslo and so on.

    My proposal is best described on this website:

    “A Practical Way of Improving Road Traffic ”

    http://triptax.com/

    Here are the benefits of this simple proposal:

    1- The technology is already available.
    2- There will be no need to install expensive GPS and satellite transmitters in 31 million vehicles – technology deemed unavailable at reasonable cost for at least another 10 years according to a recent report in the papers (see current thinking).
    3- An open competition will lead to the best solutions for monitoring vehicles.
    4- The software on the computer determining the charges could be made public so that skilled members of the public could find and report anomalies – open-sourcing.
    5- The cost will be much lower.
    6- The infrastructure is highly flexible and its performance may be regularly monitored and constantly improved. For example, if the incentives do not encourage enough tax-farmers to monitor a certain category of traffic, that can be readily altered.

    The problem is that the companies offering “solutions” want an expensive approach because that is how they make their money. Do not expect my proposal to ever end up on the table as a possibility. All these so-called “Private Finance Initiatives” (PFI’s) are scams in which politicians team up with these companies to rip off the public.

    • Alfred, he last thing we need is more spying and more government intrusions. Perhaps you could think of simple methods to solve the problems. Consider this. Remove all tax incentives, subsidies, etc. from electric and hybrid cars, and add an annual vehicle weight tax to electric and hybrid cars equivalent to the average fuel taxes per gallon paid by internal combustion engine vehicles. That might be a fair way to account for road use by vehicles not paying fuel taxes.

      • Well, taxing the tires would work, in the sense that they do wear out as a function of actual miles driven.
        However.
        Tires wear out, but are NOT a constant, low-cost drain on the driver’s pocketbook and wallet. They are NOT a “hidden tax” invisible to the common voter (er, driver) who “doesn’t care” after a few year’s exposure to the tax.
        Tires ARE a voluntary, VERY VISIBLE, single expense that is already very high. And ALREADY carries a visible “recycling fee” as a disposal tax on the receipt.
        Worse, tires ARE a required safety feature. Drive too far, the treads become worn out, the surface skin becomes worn through, and the tires become a very real safety hazard in wet or slippery weather. But tires are optional. The government cannot (now, at least) force the family to spend 600.00 to 800.00 to 1200.00 dollars on tires every year. If today’s bill for 600.00 suddenly goes up to 1200.00 because of a road use tax needed to replace the 25% gasoline tax, tires are going to become very visible to the consumer. (er, voter.) Tires will not be replaced as often (if ever) and many thousands more accidents will occur as they did in WWII rubber rationing -> The tires will be driven until they wear through and blow up, or until they skid off the road and kill thousands more.

      • “The last thing we need is more spying and more government intrusions”

        They already have location and time because almost everyone has a mobile phone these days. They can tell not only where you are, but what your average speed is if you are in a car. If you drive through any CCTV area, they will know which of your 2 cars you are driving as well.

        In view of this, what I am proposing adds nothing new for “them” to chew on.

    • Wouldn’t it be easier to simply tax tires? You can roll back odometers, you can spoof/jam GPS – but tires wear out. Take the road rating and PSI load of the tire (which will tell you how much weight it is carrying) and factor in your road taxes on the tire – a completely consumed product based upon highway use.

      • The problem is that tires last a long time. 30K to 40K miles at a minimum. Tax would end up being a thousand dollars or more per tire.
        People will have to get a second mortgage in order to afford a new set.

      • The idea of taxing tyres is preposterous. All you will achieve is create a black market in the things.

        Why is it so difficult for others to grasp? They cannot stop a black market in every habitation in things as small as milligrammes of fentanyl – despite the massive penalties involved.

    • I dont think they are buying electric for much else anyway.

      The range isn’t there.

      But dont knock a rechargeable town car *if its cheap enough* Most people’s journeys are short – school, shopping, to work maybe parking at a station.

      • “Most people’s journeys are short – school, shopping, to work maybe parking at a station.”

        Most of my journeys are short. But then there are the half-dozen 600+km drives I do every year. Which makes a ‘town car’ useless to me.

        Not to mention the thousands of kilometres I drive on gravel roads in the winter. I’m not taking an electric town car out there.

      • It would have to be cheap enough for people to lay out the cash for an another car, in addition to the ones they already own, plus a place to store that additional car.
        Once “town cars” start paying for the roads they use, most if not all of the cost savings for them is going to disappear as well.

      • Or – the ability to ‘hire’/rent a car.
        Say – car clubs, Hertz etc., and other later-addition providers.
        maybe even ‘OOber’.
        In addition to the local – electric – run around.

        Big power demands – driving across country will – still – be met from petroleum [‘gas’ for those west of the Ditch]; hence no need for a great fleet of power stations [aka bird choppers, and daylight power only machines]; just ‘Frack, baby, frack’!

        Auto

      • True, sort of. I wouldn’t buy one to go to and from work (about 12 or so miles) or to run around town, but if someone gave me one (and the batteries would still a charge during this winter’s and future winter’s freezing manifestation of “Global Warming”), I might keep it and use it. But I wouldn’t give up the space for it in my garage for my real car.

      • You assume that at least one of the spouses will have a commute that is short enough that year around, they will be able to drive an electric. Including summer when AC is needed and heat is causing the capacity of the batteries to drop.
        Including winter when heat is being needed, heat pumps down to 40 to 50F, electric resistance below that, plus cold causing the capacity of the batteries to drop.

      • “Or – the ability to ‘hire’/rent a car.”

        Yeah, the old ‘well, you just rent a car for long trips’ argument.

        Guess what? Once you add the cost of renting a car for a few weeks a year… you just eliminated any saving from buying an electric car for lower fuel costs (even assuming that electric car could be sold as cheaply as an equivalent gasoline car).

    • Hong Kong is a good example. Last April the tax concession on electric vehicles was abolished. Tesla, from sales of c2,000 in March, immediately dropped to zero in April and in the following 2 months sold less than 10 units. The other EV makers suffered also.

    • In some places (like BC) substantial financial benefits are offered to purchasers of EVs, which are still priced out of the average buyer range. This amounts to the taxpayer subsidizing the wealthy. What kind of spin does it take to get this past the voter? https://goo.gl/35P9i6

      • In Quebec, we are currently paying about $1.20 per litre for gas. That is equivalent to $5.46 Canadian per imperial gallon, or $4.55 C per US gallon, or about $3,64 US per US gallon. For that we have pretty awful roads to drive on. The weather isn’t the reason. Drive over the border into New York and it’s like riding on silk.

      • @Trebla, having driven many a mile on NY roads, hearing that they are “like riding on silk” relative to Quebec roads makes me happy I don’t drive in Quebec! LOL

        I have (not so) fond memories of driving my first car, a 1978 Honda Civic (curb weight 1711 pounds), with a short wheel base and 12″ wheels with 155/80 tires, on NY Route 17, at the time mostly concrete with expansion joints. The distance between the expansion joints, coupled with the car’s short wheelbase and puny tires/wheels, gave me a highway speed rhythm (da-dump! da-dump! da-dump!) that was pretty much like riding a horse at a gallop – all I needed was a riding crop!

  3. Go in for your annual test, and charge the miles since your last annual test.

    Unless cars are ‘clocked’ that’s a very good way to pay.

    • “Go in for your annual test”

      The problem here is that a person who commutes alone in a car in a congested area and at the worst possible time pays very little. Another who live in the outback pays a lot more. It should be the other way around IMHO.

      I posted this, but seems to have disappeared:

      A Practical Way of Improving Road Traffic

    • Unfortunately they want to monitor your driving. They will push for it, trust me.

      I may be paranoid, but that doesn’t mean they’re not out to control me.

    • Oh yeah, and in some places you don’t need an annual test, like Queensland.

      (my previous reply got trapped in the spam bucket)

      • “South Carolina . . . which also has the lowest state tax on gasoline”

        Yes, GD. Our fine, fine politicians are trying to “fix” that.

    • That was my thought when our state was “investigating” putting GPS transponders in all cars to track miles driven. Talk about an invasion of privacy!

      • And like when they introduced biometric Passports, I’ll buy the most durable vehicle before it happens to keep it for as long as possible, just to avoid it. Passports I have to give in to, but vehicles I can keep running, and my (old style) UK driving license lasts until I’m 70 without renewal.

      • They already do that in Norway. Norway is also on its way of becoming a cashless society. For foreigners their number plate gets screened and 2 or 3 months later they send you the bill. Wecome to Big Brother where freedom is a thing of the past.

      • Jer0me ‘I’ll buy the most durable vehicle before it happens to keep it for as long as possible’ Until you can not use it in certain cities or parts of the day etc etc . Happening all over eco fascist europe banning ‘dirty’ cars.

        And who are the owners of these ‘dirty’ cars ? Exactly, the poor.

    • Leo Smith – January 15, 2018 at 2:18 am

      Go in for your annual test, and charge the miles since your last annual test.

      Unless cars are ‘clocked’ that’s a very good way to pay.

      The above sounds like a really great idea, …. the kind that clueless politicians are noted for enacting.

      But the actual fact is, ……. it would be a disaster if instigated.

      Paying a little “bit” ($4 or $5 in petrol taxes) …… before you drive a little “bit” (100 to 200 miles) …… is one thing.

      But trying to make someone pay a whole “bunch” ($1,000 or $2,000+ in petrol taxes) …… one (1) year after they have already driven a whole “bunch” (thousands) of miles …… is utterly asinine and foolish.

      They won’t show up for their “annual inspection” and …….. fake or replica “annual test” stickers will be “for sale” on every street corner.

    • No annual test in the state of California so they are thinking of a different approach….. using GPS to track EV mileage. Won’t happen though because for all the liberal spouting in the state anything that affects the elites/rich directly is a non starter. They’ll claim personal intrusion by the government.

      • Can’t agree with this. The rich/elite pay little attention to such mundane things as the price of fuel. Think Al Gore and his private jet, or David Suzuki in Canada. The poor in most Western countries live primarily in big cities and many don’t own/can’t afford/don’t need a vehicle. The middle class will get hammered. Next up- meat taxes! Then water through the roof!

  4. The elephant in the room is the fact that, if electrics become a sizable proportion of the population, there is not sufficient grid capacity. There will be blackouts and brownouts. link

    We are already seeing some jurisdictions having to encourage off peak charging and upgrade their infrastructure. Plug-in electrics are a looming threat that wise politicians will want to discourage.

    • Most places don’t even have the infrastructure to charge EVs, most cars are parked on public roads!

      This has not been thought through by any ‘normal’ people.

      • at current rate of ~7.9 NOK for a dollar, 13.79 NOK (per liter, not gallon!) ~ $1.75 / liter or $6.6 / gallon.
        Most of it taxes.
        While electricity is charged ~$0.15 / kWh (tax included, again)
        So Griff is right, this is a HUGE incentive from bullies in the government.

      • Griff
        January 15, 2018 at 4:35 am

        This does not seem to be a problem in Norway, where EV use is booming due to govt incentives.

        So you’e moving to Norway, right?

      • Nigel S

        Most Norwegian electricity comes from hydro and is dirt cheap. When we holidayed there years ago, the cabin had electric heating & water hearing, a full set of kitchen appliances, a heater under the seat in the ‘porch’ (so you could dry coats & boots), and there was no additional charge for the electricity.

        A lot of the money from oil & gas goes into the sovereign wealth fund.

      • Griff…. Norway is a beautiful country but it has become a fascist s. hole and the world is going in the same direction.but we know you love Big Brother.

      • Griff,
        Government incentives = someone else paying for you
        So in reality YOU want a free ride on the backs of everyone else’s wallets

      • “…in Norway, where EV use is booming due to govt incentives.”
        “…Even the Norwegians are having second thoughts…”

        EV uptake in politically correct Norway is abnormally high (at around 20% of new registrations) due to a combination of Government market manipulation and the generally left leaning political orientation of much of the population.

        The main party in the current coalition is the ‘Hoyre’ party, which means ‘right party’ but they’re only ‘right’ by local comparison; their policies actually make a Labour or democrat party in the real world look old-school conservative by comparison. With that in mind, one can imagine how the gullible warming meme has been swallowed hook, line and sinker by a population who according to one respondent to an article about why foreigners don’t get Norwegians ‘…pay our taxes with glee, knowing that it helps people…’.

        Government market manipulation includes waiving the import tax and on road costs of the new car (which can inflate the cost of a proper car by 100%, and if you plan on importing your own car it will cost you 105% of it’s the market value as determined by the government). In addition to some healthy tax avoidance, you avoid paying through the hoop for fuel, about 60% of it’s cost per litre is tax.You can let other tax-payers pay for your recharging at the ‘free’ recharging stations in public car-parks (which you’re also not having to pay for while your Tesla virtue signaller sits around for all to see), you avoid road tolls at each council boundary and you can use the bus lane thus avoiding much of the congestion on the smooth and pretty but inadequately sized and designed roads.

        Also, electricity in Norway comes largely from hydro-electric generation, from mostly older, amortized facilities, so it’s (relatively) cheap. So much so that most of Norway’s prodigious gas production is exported, while locally, we cook and heat our houses electrically. So even if your eBil is plugged into your own ‘lecky overnight, it’s still cheaper than paying 9$/gal / 1.5£/litre to fill up.

        But the chooks are starting to come home to roost, as anyone with a brain knew they would.

        In the hunt for taxes, eBils over 2 tonnes will now be exempt from the tax dodge for new electric cars meaning you’d have to ask whether virue signalling in a Tesla Model S is really worth it when you could own a proper large luxury car for the same money.
        Bus drivers are beginning to complain about congested buss lanes, so that perk can not be far from trimming.
        As local government planning revolves around ‘zero growth’ policies with respect to cars on the road, more of us will be compelled to move to subsidized public transport instead of selling a kidney to pay for the annual burden of tripled road tolls in both directions (notwithstanding the number of nutters who, in an alledgedly developed country feel the need to ride pushikes to work in the rain). That exodus away from cars will further dent the general revenue derived from road tolls and fuel excises; so don’t take the exemption from road tolls for granted.
        Finally, in the drive to appear green, the government forces oil producers to power new oil platforms from shore (using ‘clean’ hydro power at the end of long extension cords to replace gas turbine generators in-situ). Quite aside from the utter folly and futility of that form of monumental virtue signalling, the unintended consequence is that the electrical grid has large new customers to add to it’s demand for reliable base-load. And since ecotards won’t tolerate new dams, that means ‘cheap’ ‘lecky will soon be a thing of the past so don’t expect local government to pay for ‘free’ charging very much longer.

        So once the ‘official car of the arsehole’ becomes expensive to buy and run, the sensible observer should expect the arsehole drivers of Norway to flock back to Audi.

      • “Griff January 15, 2018 at 4:35 am

        …where SOLAR use is booming due to govt incentives.”

        Yes indeed. I can’t install solar for the apartment I live in as I rent. But I pay taxes and fees on everything I use which goes to those who can…via Govn’t subsidies. Well done Griff. I always knew you were after a free ride.

  5. The free ride for the EVs (electric vehicles) is, to my mind, the same story as the free ride for the W&S (wind and solar). With that I am thinking of the reduced or negative input to the common road maintenance, compared to the likewise reduced or negative income from wind and solar causing unnecessary increase in electricity bills and by that general standard of living.

  6. Beware the road/fuel tax sting, in which you are conned into paying more for a car that is exempt, then a few years later ceases to be exempt. The UK has a lot of expensive cars full of gizmos that try to get emissions below a threshold figure below which you pay no road tax … for a year or two until the threshold is reduced to maintain govt income.

    • As is the case with the London congestion charge exemptions for gas powered cars – they admitted too many people were switching to lower polluting gas and the take was falling… Now they’re squaring up to charge owners of older cars in the extended low emission zone.

      By 2025 only actual unicorn chariots will be exempt from tax.

      • tomo
        “By 2025 only actual unicorn chariots will be exempt from tax.”
        And even those will be obliged to donate [is that the word?] a pittance for the privilege of depositing unicorn dung [reputedly very good for hydrangeas . . .].
        And DNA testing will ensure the right unicorn pays!

        Auto – absolutely not a cynic; perhaps merely a realist!

  7. I agree the subsidy for the posh Tesla like EV is not fair at all. In fact it is kind of absurd that a rich guy’s toy car is subsidized in several forms such as rebates or lack of a fuel tax to pay their fair share of road development or maintenance,

    However, there is a bigger problem. I just left Manila for Bangkok, and forget about CO2, a trace invisable benicial gad critical to life on Earth. The problem in these giant cities and I just name a few of the big ones, and there are 100’s more: The problem is Carbon Monoxide. These cities are literally choking to death on outdated unregulated noxious inefficient gas and diesel creating fumes so thick with CO, that this will literally kill you deader than a door nail. Mainly by Tuk-tuks, Tricycles, Jeepneys, and Hable Hables otherwise known as motorbikes. Tens of millions of them.

    This is an opportunity to electrify these commercial passenger vehicles that carry fare paying customers and when their life cycle is up, this is where the electric craze should first begin. We do have the technology for this right now, because other than the Jeepney, these tens of millions of smallish commercial passenger carrying vehicles would do very well on an electric battery. I am talking human health here, not some green virtue signalling crap.

    The air is literally impossible to breath and I thought this isn’t much difference than locking myself in my garage and turning on my Diesel 3500 Dodge Ram and idle away til death comes slowly.

    Yes, the EV personal car is not quite ready yet, and not only isn’t paying it’s fair share of road tax, but being subsidized by us suckers too.
    But public transportation as represented by what I describe above makes it essential that something good become of all this R&D that has gone into batteries and efficient electric motors. This is the place to start, and the way it should be paid is on actual driven miles, by an annual license plate and insurance cost per driven mile, which reflects the true cost of building and maintaining road and traffic infrastructure. And there is human health to think about, and I just hope to God I get out out alive before having a heart attack from Carbon Monoxide poisoning. The world is bigger than just our little corner of Earth and this will be an absolute necessity at some point. Start with the small simple things like this, and the future will take care of itself.

    • Earthling2 – all you need to do is provide all the power for those ‘tens of millions’ of electric vehicles. The energy and the grid are not free. Also as the article points out the taxation is easy for gasoline/diesel powered vehicles, it gets more complicated when the vehicles are recharged from domestic electricity supplies.
      It seems that there are no systems engineers working on the Electric Vehicle issues, only virtue signaling politicians and subsidy farmers.

      • Shift the power production out of the super polluted city in a very efficient large diesel generator even, and the efficiency of the large power generation will somewhat offset the electric transmission and distribution losses. This isn’t rocket science. I’m not talking about consumer fancy EV’s, I’m talking tens of millions commercial ‘taxi’ trikes and Tuks and Scooters that are so old and polluting, better to just electrify those. These don’t weigh 5% of a Tesla, but will transport orders of magnitude more people and be the biggest bang for the buck in saving the health of millions. Or needless sickness. There is common sense and then there is deliberate ignorance.

        The world is going electric over the long term. I can guarantee you 100% of that. We best spend our efforts on making sure the enviro’s don’t block access for Right of Ways for T&D Power lines. There is nothing more efficient or productive than electricity for the majority of future energy usage. Nat Gas is the next best solution and in many cases better than electricity now because it is dirt cheap. For home heating or electricity production. But that spread won’t last long either since we will soon be paying global parity pricing for LNG Nat Gas as they are starting in Oz already which along with mandated renewables has now made a bunch of criminals running a country who sells its gas (LNG) to foreign interests and let’s its citizens suffer in the dark because it won’t use domestic gas enough or pay thru the nose for inefficient renewables. Or terrorized a perfectly good operational coal plant, blowing it up like Daesh would.

    • Yes, it would be great to improve these public taxis by introducing electric ones, but how much time to charge? In most developing countries, the vehicle cost massively outweighs the cost of the driver, so charging times impact the profits.

      • The batteries for these small 1 -2 person vehicles are actually quite small, or could be made to that scale, and can be easliy exchanged at a kiosk.. Think of golf carts, electric forklifts, all the equipment at Airports and Shipping Ports ..Not so easy for a Tesla. Also, easliy recycled as our car batteries are now. And these are just lead/ acid, not newer technologies..
        The main energy generating centers would be the best way to charge these. New energy technologies can be experimented with at these distribution centers, whether it be diesel, renewable, coal , gas , hydro, or whatever…Just a thought..

    • Earthling2, carbon monoxide gas is colourless, odorless and tasteless, so you weren’t smelling or seeing CO. There’s other junk in the fumes that caused your discomfort. Also, you don’t have a heart attack from carbon monoxide poisoning. The CO mixes with hemoglobin in your blood to produce a substance prevents the blood from carrying oxygen, so you actually die of oxygen deprivation.

      • Yes of course, scientifically speaking, it is also the same as CO2 being colourless, tasteless, odourless. But as you say, it is everything else associated with massive concentrated pollutants from extremely polluting old engines with no pollution controls that I summed up. But Carbon Monoxide can most definitely cause a heart attack. Myocardial Infarction (MI-Heart Attack) usually results from an imbalance in oxygen supply and demand. Usually caused by a blockage, I.E. blood clot. But CO certainly does reduce oxygen as well as you yourself point out and ultimately, usually does kill by heart heart, or myocardial infarction.

        My point being that extreme air pollution from extremely high density air pollution (and CO) that damages the health of hundreds of millions of people is low hanging fruit in 3rd world countries that could easily be fixed with the R&D we have made in electric motors and batteries for commercial mass transportation vehicles like Tuks, trikes, bikes, Jeepney’s etc, that literally move billions of people trips per year. Most of these vehicles weigh less than 5% of a Tesla, and move orders of magnitude more people than your average Tesla car does that we taxpayers wind up subsidizing. That would be a good start in cleaning up their extreme air pollution in the 3rd world that would make a huge difference to them. My argument has nothing to do with CO2, only making for breathable air in these immensely densified cities. Sure there are details to work out, but fairly straightforward for the benefit gained. It is not like we couldn’t design a system to charge a Tuk, which would be 5% of load/demand of a Tesla. No subsidies, no pounding out the roads by heavy electric cars not paying a gasoline tax. If we can’t (or won’t) try and remedy a problem that can be fairly simply solved because of divided ideology, then I give up on the humanity of humanity.

    • You are right Philip, but this is not a big issue with the average small car. One 16 ton bus is compatible to about 100,000 small cars, when it comes to road damage.

    • IIRC, pavement is calculated based on half a million repetitions of the design axle weight (which is usually a truck), so a car has an axle weight that will theoretically result in an infinite number of repetitions of the axle load. Thus, and theoretically, cars do not create any road wear – only trucks do. Again, theoretically.

  8. EV’s and Hybrids are already more expensive than the equivalent standard ICE car. If you make then more expensive by adding another road tax (gas tax equivalent) then you will kill the incentive to own an EV or Hybrid. The only folks that’ll own an EV or Hybrid will be the die hard greens, the virtue signaling rich and the few folks that the EV or Hybrid actually makes sense to own. The tax base will be miniscule.

    • The point is to prevent currently taxed people (those using gas) to evade the tax, not so much to tax the indeed minuscule tax base of EV

    • Agreed. “Subsidies” are basically the reason for existence of EVs, solar panels and windmills. When the government chooses winners and losers, we all lose.

  9. Paying for roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure through fuel taxes has been outmoded and “unfair” for decades. The technology exists to charge by the mile/km and with specific charges for high-cost bridges, tunnels and limited-access highways.

    An example …
    http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Tolling/default.htm

    It is important that revenue generated by such systems is used to build, improve and maintain roads, not siphon it away for subways, high-speed rail and other unrelated projects.

    • why the hell should we pay tolls n other extras?
      the damned fuel excise is the reason the govt wont push the mongrels charging fuel prices at the same as when oil was 100$+ a barrel now its only around 60 max and was at 40 for some time.
      they take a large chunk of the per litre cost in Au presently here im paying $1.34 a litre 4.5 litres to a gallon.
      then add insult of over $1k a yr rego.
      even motorbikes over 250cc cost 700 or so a yr to reg.
      the taxes paid supposedly for roads etc are just thrown into general revenue.
      if they WERE used ONLY for roads we’d be doing fine on good roads.
      councils used to do their own hotmix bitumen works..now its outsourced to “specialty” companies asking far more than can be justified per kilometre for repair/maintenance.

      i did enjoy hearing the holier than thou call ins on the radio when this story broke though;-)
      theyre sooo special and so green they deserve to drive and not pay anything..
      snowflakes

    • The biggest cause of road damage, by far, is freeze thaw cycles. I live in Pennsylvania which is know for bad roads. Usually during the winter there are 10-12 freeze thaw cycles. The second is axle loads, per Old Construction Worker. The Interstate highways were specc’d for 40,000 lb semi weights(8000lb axle wt.) but over the years the truck weights have ballooned to 20,000 lb./axle. The Federal Highway Administration and the Army Corp of Engineers have plenty of data showing that overloading axle weight has a critical breakpoint of load vs speed where the road breaks down exponentially faster with increasing weight and speed. The cost of the road also goes up exponentially with an increase in axle weight/speed. Without trucks the most of the current highways would last 100 years or more instead of 20-30,

      Of course, the last cause is graft and corruption. There are thousands of ways to get substandard construction done and overlooked. This is NOT the responsibility of the folks building the road, but the politicians and lobbyists involved.

  10. Fuel and road tax, from liquid fuel to electric fuel (via mainly coal), and the impact of this.
    I was just thinking: if we go from diesel, gasoline and sometimes LPG to electricity for the general transportation, what about road tax. I assume the road maintenance would be paid via either household electricity bills or via the general tax bill. Either way, you will pay large sums, whether you own a vehicle or not. Just speculation if this is good or bad?

    • You can bet gov will put a bug in your car, so that they know where you go, when, with whom etc. Because, you know: safety; and fair pricing of road use (and tax, needless to say). Soviet union dreamed of it, liberals do it right now

      • There already is one in the vehicle computer- generally not subject to analysis by a laptop, but the government certainly has the codes. Right it’s used for analysing pre-accident information for possible causes.

  11. The problem with the mileage approach to state taxation of vehicle usage is that apart from a GPS datalogger per car that keeps track of all those data there is no way to determine in what state those miles were driven.

      • No need for that in my state of Maryland, and probably many other states, because they do an annual emissions check. Once a year you take your car to an emissions station and they hook up your car to an OBD II reader and get the CO, CO2, and other output readings from the car’s computer. They grab the miles on your car at that time as well, so they’ve already got what they need for a tax/mile implementation.

  12. I’d welcome a PPM (pay-per-mile) tax. Currently I pay $2/day for my car to be sat in my driveway (road tax) and it does that for 25 days/month. Not having a car isn’t an option though (rural living and no public transport) and we’re even further stung by higher fuel costs as rural fuel stations hike their prices accordingly. Those that use the most should pay the most. Simple.

    • Ppm and your government will end up knowing where and when you drive. All sensible alternatives will be quashed.

    • It doesn’t work that way. What too many people fail to realize is that you cannot isolate the effect of a tax to any group. Trucks pay the highest road and fuel taxes, because they use the roads the most. But the cost of those taxes is added to the cost of eveything they transport, so it is you who are really paying those road and fuel taxes. If your neighbor drives more than you, and is taxed more, he has that much less to spend on food, clothes, or other things. The slight decrease in his personal consumption isn’t much, but multiplied by hundreds of thousands of others with the same driving habits has a significant economic effect, which reduces your own disposable income.

      A tax on any part of the economy is a tax on every part of the economy. When you tax the rich, who are the largest employers and consumers, that tax is passed on to their workers and service providers. When you tax the poor, the cost is passed on to the rich. When you tax anyone, you tax everyone. “Trickle-down economics” is the rule, not some scheme to make the rich richer, and the poor poorer.

      Imagine the economy is a pool with a deep end and a shallow end. Imagine this pool is filled with money. When you remove a bucket of water from the deep end, does the water level decrease in the deep end only? Of course not, the water level of the entire pool decreases evenly.

      So-called “progressive taxation” is misleading, because higher taxes paid by higher income earners is offset by lower wages and benefits, higher prices, reduced consumption, and decreased savings and investment. You may think you are paying lower taxes because you aren’t rich, but you are actually paying far more than you realize. For you liberal types who scream that the rich should be taxed more, or that taxes should be increased on cars, oil, or tobacco, you yourselves end up paying for these taxes, and you don’t even know it.

      Of course, if the money taxed out of the economy were spent wisely, and created a positive return, then taxation would not be such a problem. Unfortunately, that is not the case. If tax money were wisely spent, the state could charge much lower taxes. Higher taxes, wisely spent, would create revenue and wealth. But that is not the case in any country I am aware of.

      Another thing that liberal-thinkers always fail to see is that government is a business, and that politIcians don’t run for office to serve the public, but to make money. Liberal-thinkers hate corporations and monopolies. But neither corporations nor monopolies could exist without government.

      Politicians make their fortunes by buying votes and selling influence. Votes are bought in the form of handouts or promises to deal with social issues (most of which are irrelevant). Influence is sold via manipulating the tax code and creating rules and regulations in the federal code.

      As of 2016, the federal tax code contained 74,608 pages. The federal register has been growing by more than 60,000 pages per year for decades. It is through the tax code and federal register that Washington wields it’s power. Who benefits? The big corporations, and the politicians.

      What is the result of this taxation and regulation? It’s easy enough to see. How many new car companies have been founded in America in the last 50 years? How many new aircraft manufacturers? How many TV, radio, or bicycle manufacturers?

      Liberal thinkers believe that the state needs more power to control corporations and limit monopolies. But as the state has increased it’s authority, the opposite has occurred. America now has a small handful of large corporations with much larger market share. It is virtually impossible to create a new manufacturing industry in America today. And the inability to create new industries has harmed most of us greatly.

      And the politicians? Take a look at the net worths of any politician, look at what it was when he entered office, look again after a few years in office, look yet again after a few years of retirement. Al Gore was worth $1 million when he lost to George Bush. Al is now worth $300 million.

      Bill and Hillary were essentially broke in 1992, how much are they worth now? Look at any politician you like, from either party, you’ll see how lucrative politics is. Chelsea Clinton gets $650,000 per year as an absentee board member for Expedia, Barack Obama is bringing in $1 million a month. He would have been pulling in more had Hillary won, and kept his policies in place.

      For you conservative thinkers, don’t think that those who you represent you are any better people than their counterparts across the aisle. They are all actors in a show which the voters are unwise enough to think is real.

      Climate change is tilting at windmills. An expensive war fought against an undefeatable enemy. And that is the point, if the war cannot be won, it can be fought and paid for endlessly, which only further increases the power of corporations and the formation of monopolies.

  13. A simpler way to get around a mileage based tax would be to tax tires. That would probably actually encourage people to better maintain them.

    • “A simpler way to get around a mileage based tax would be to tax tires.”

      In the UK tyres attract VAT at 20% as does the cost of having them fitted.

    • Ironically, you can thank Donald Trump for that. By eliminating the double taxation of profits made overseas, Trump’s tax reform has made it a lot more attractive to bring those profits home and expand their capabilities here, and also to expand sales overseas, knowing they won’t get thumped twice on taxes any more. Add in the reduction of the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, and they’ve got real incentive to increase sales.

      Sounds like a win-win for American businesses.

      • I wish that were the case. Trump did not end the double taxation, he merely allowed companies a onetime chance to repatriate money. I am an American expat who has to file two tax returns every year, in Japan and in America. America and Eritrea are the only countries in the world which tax the incomes of their citizens living abroad. Land of the free indeed.

    • Griff:

      Your first link is about Ford increasing spending for “hybrid and electric vehicles”. Hybrid with today’s technology makes sense; pure electric much less so. Ford and other automakers are combining the two in their announcements (Volvo made a similar announcement last year) so they get the PR benefit of appearing to commit to pure-EVs while leaving themselves free to meet that promise primarily with Hybrids.

      The second link is a real hoot. Significant increases in EVs in China will require more coal-fired electrical capacity to support. Maybe on balance you’ll get less total pollution that way over conventional IC vehicles, but you certainly won’t get any significant reduction.

    • Preacher Griff, do you own a car (or do you plan to, “in the near future” for whatever it means) yourself ? is it EV?

    • Just the usual total fantasy from Griff.
      In the UK there are less than 8.000 public charging points for EVs at the moment , & at the current rate of increase it will be 300 years before there is 1 million . Which will still be nowhere near
      enough for a fraction of the private cars on the road .

      And at the moment it is winter here , & the spare capacity on the electric grid could only cope with charging a lot less than 10% of the private cars on any day .

      So how much does he expect the public to have to pay out for the infastructure of charging points , upgrading the grid , & extra power stations . Which in terms of Hinkley C progress would take over 50 years .
      [ An approximate price for just the power stations would be £600 Billion ]

      • I bet the poor guy doesn’t even get paid for that. The way he does is so bad, he wouldn’t earn a dime.
        In fact, I don’t think he earns nor earned a living, yet.

      • Yeah just like they’ll feed all those EVs with power generated by windmills and solar panels. LMFAO.

  14. The problem isn’t that too little road or fuel tax is charged, but that the cost of infrastructure has gotten too high. Has anyone ever seen how much infrafructure improvments cost these days? The cost to resurface a road or repaint a bridge nowadays is often more than what it formerly cost to build either.

    Look at the original contact terms for a project. These are already quite expensive in terms of time and money, but such projects are seldom, if ever, finished on-time and within budget. The worst examples are things like the Century Freeway, the “Big Dig” and Jerry Brown’s so-called high-speed train.

    Governments have not seen a decline in tax revenue because more electric cars are on the roads (extremely few are), but because punishingly-high fuel costs in recent years and fuel taxes have caused people to drive less.

    A mobile society is not a bad thing. Inexpensive tranportstion means people have more to spend on things other than fuel. What the state loses on fuel tax is made up for in things like business taxes, consumption taxes, and income taxes, which the state collects more of when people spend more money.

    Of course, the public services payed for with those taxes are also greatly overpriced. If governments bothered to run themselves the way businesses are required to run (that is, to create a positive return with the money they earn), costs would go down, quality would improve, and we would all be better off economically.

    • As I understand, the Century Freeway (105), was the Only major Cal Trans project, bought in under budget and on time . . This from one of the Senior Engineers, retired, on the Project , who later, was consulting on a project for me.

      • The most expensive highway in history at the time, costing $127 million per mile, back when dollar was worth a bit more than it is today. At prices like that, is it any wonder why infrastructure is in trouble?

  15. Simply elimination of the subsidies would reduce the number of electric cars and so largely fix the problem.

    • Subsidies distort any market they apply to. An effort should be made to eliminate them everywhere. A truly free market will regulate itself much better than what now happens. Any business that bends the curve too far will be regulated by consumers. Government should function only as a watchdog for events that threaten public welfare. Where “draconian” changes have occurred, the industries sorted themselves out quickly, and doom and gloom was only a scare tactic (e.g.. NZ agriculture). The energy sector would readjust quickly and significantly. Obama was the epitome of a crony capitalist. Much work for Trump to do – but he has a good start.

    • Yup! There shouldn’t be taxpayer funded incentives to own unnecessarily expensive, limited range, unnecessarily heavy EVs when for less cost and weight you can get much more useful gasoline powered cars with essentially instant full refueling capability, and NO need for “new” supporting infrastructure when we can’t even seem to afford the upkeep on *existing* infrastructure..

  16. If EVs continue to increase as a percentage of active vehicles, the day must come when they are taxed for road maintenance on a comparable basis with IC vehicles. But in the US most states are also participating in subsidies for EVs, so it seems schizophrenic to talk about new taxes on EVs while continuing to maintain costly incentives. For example here in Georgia EVs get to use the HOT (High Occupancy Toll) lanes for free. This can be a savings of $8.00 or more each way on a daily commute into Atlanta.

    Georgia also condones special lower electric rates for EV owners when they charge during overnight hours.

    Before imposing a new tax requiring a new compliance mechanism, first remove the subsidies. This kind of thinking is generally not popular with legislators however, so I expect to hear more about mileage-based taxes.

    A fuel-equivalent tax per kWh could be collected from Tesla supercharging stations and curbside charging kiosks (many of these are fee-based already, so adding a tax component is quite simple). Collect a similar tax for declared off-peak EV charging power from home users — if you want to get the lower rate you have to pay the road use tax on it.

    Above all, the states need to make sure all the road tax they collect is spent wisely with transparency and accountability. Give us a road infrastructure with adequate capacity that is safe and convenient and we will find an equitable way to fund it.

    • Put it on energy and I can see solar panels popping up just to charge cars as you will not only save the cost of electricity from the grid but also the road tax surcharge. The law of unintended consequences is everywhere.

      • That would be a consideration if it worked. Solar and EVs don’t really work because people generally use their vehicles during the day, when solar might produce the power to charge them. If people want to spend on roof solar plus PowerWall batteries just so they can avoid paying $0.02 / mile in road taxes for a vehicle driven probably 300 miles per week or less, that suggests a very warped sense of priorities.

        The same situation exists in New England with diesel cars. Many homes are heated with oil which is the same thing as #2 diesel, except it doesn’t have the vehicle fuel taxes added. Technically people are cheating when they use heating oil to fuel their vehicles, but there aren’t enough to make a difference.

      • Even if you left the car on the charger all day, a roof panel comes nowhere close to providing enough power to charge an electric in a day.

      • AWCDL7- The Leaf uses .34kWh per mile. A typical solar panel produces 250 watts nameplate so maybe expect 6 hrs at 200 watts or .6 miles per hour (DC to DC) over 6 hrs or 3.6 miles per day per panel on a good day. 4 panels would give you 15 miles per day and could be used for non-charging, so there would be other economic benefits. In addition to saving road taxes, you also don’t spend $ on power from the grid.

        At .12 kWh grid pricing, a Leaf would cost about $.041 per mile. Throw in inefficiencies of converting AC to DC and say $.06 per mile. Add your $.02 road tax and you get net cost of $.08 per mile

        I typically drive about 15 miles per day, so charging from the grid and paying the road tax would cost me $1.20 per day. To put 4 panels on my south-facing garage roof and associated install would probably be in the $5K range, so it would take about 11.4 years to pay for it.

        I would say you are right.

      • rbabcock: The panel only produces nameplate power when the sun it is pointed directly at the sun, there are no clouds and your panel is completely clean.
        If you don’t have a roof that is properly situated, have trees anywhere near your house, have a climate that produces clouds on a regular basis (even thin clouds), etc, etc you are going to need to triple or more the number of panels you were planning on installing.

        One other thing, that nameplate power is also only produced on the first day. Actual power generated degrades over time.

  17. “Go in for your annual test, and charge the miles since your last annual test.”
    Exactly, the obvious way to collect road taxes from EVs.
    EVs weigh considerably more than gas powered cars, it should be noted.
    Federal gasoline taxes are 25 cents per gallon, and state taxes vary to over 50 cents per gallon.
    The taxes can equal one third of the cost of gas.
    One “analysis” of the cost of gas powered versus electric powered vehicles neglected to take into account the road taxes which EVs will HAVE to pay.

    • Indeed. Here in New Zealand the pollies had to come up with a solution to the problem that much diesel was used off-road for tractors and boats. So the diesel-powered road vehicle pays a Road User Charge per kilometre travelled – works out at about 3 cents I think. So apply this to EVs, at a separately and honestly calculated rate, and the problem is solved. The RUC is applied to the vehicle’s odometer reading, and the certificate on the windscreen must show kilometres paid in advance of the odometer reading. The much more serious problem is the availability of power to charge all of these vehicles, and the idiocy of politicians who announce a date for phasing out i.c. engined vehicles without a clue as to its practicability.

      • Even more easily: do away with fuel excises and road taxes, and return to property tax where the value of the land is assessed and taxed accordingly. It’s what built California and turned it into an industrial powerhouse and it’s what built Michigan and turned it into an industrial powerhouse. America’s post war years show clear evidence of what happens when taxation is taken off land.

        The true users of any road are those for whom the road provides 24/7 free (as in unimpeded, unencumbered) access to their properties. Walk/drive/travel along any urban road and look to any side: there you will see the true user of that road. User pays.

        Much of the value of that land is given to it by that access, by that road. Some of that value should be recovered from the land owner (the true user of the land) to pay for all aspects of government. Many economic ills will magically disappear when tax policy is correctly realigned.

      • @sophocles, I beg to differ – property taxes are a confiscatory tax, the government can just keep raising them until the owners can’t afford it and thereby effectively strip property owners of their property. There’s also other well-founded arguments – a city dweller who doesn’t own a car and has no driver’s license and walks everywhere would argue they shouldn’t be paying for road “use” or “access.”

  18. Government subsidies for ANYTHING are always a very bad idea for the following reasons:

    1) They often cause tremendous costs to taxpayers.
    2) They stifle innovation because they cause inferior technology to be used before they’re able to compete against competing existing technologies.
    3) They create an unfair advantage to competing products and services.
    4) They misallocate limited land, labor and capital for goods unable to compete in a free-market economy on their own.
    5) They increase costs of products leaving consumers less money to spend or save.
    6) They delay the introduction of next generation technologies because producers have to first recoup their investment of uncompetitive technologies.
    7) They perpetuate inefficient and uncompetitive products.

    Subsidies destroy economies and must be avoided at all costs.

    • Government subsidies for ANYTHING are always a very GOOD idea for the following reasons:

      1) They cause tremendous costs to taxpayers. Most people hate rich people and thinks theses are the taxpayers, and will vote for you
      2) They stifle innovation because they cause inferior technology to be used before they’re able to compete against competing existing technologies. Innovation is disrupting, destroy known jobs (well, they may create new jobs, but this will be later)
      3) They create an unfair advantage to competing products and services. Those benefiting will be grateful, and help your reelection. Those not benefiting will turn to you to be next.
      4) They misallocate limited land, labor and capital for goods unable to compete in a free-market economy on their own. People now depends on you for their livings, and won’t let you down in the poll station.
      5) They increase costs of products leaving consumers less money to spend or save. Dummies thinks the higher the price, the higher the benefit for them, so they again are happy
      6) They delay the introduction of next generation technologies because producers have to first recoup their investment of uncompetitive technologies. ditto 3
      7) They perpetuate inefficient and uncompetitive products. ditto 3 and 4.

      Subsidies destroy economies and make you (politician) all the more important, powerful, and rich. They are the most useful tool for you and must be implemented at all costs; all others’ cost, needless to say.

      There, fixed for you

  19. All very depressing …..
    Back to horses it is then … we can always leave a ‘deposit’ at the turnstile !

    • Wouldn’t work. Methane. All the resources PeTA people say it takes to raise domesticated animals and all that other horsesh….

      • I can’t verify the numbers, but I remember reading a paper some years ago that said it would take 50 years to breed enough heavy horses to farm all the land in NA. Folks could get a little hungry.

  20. Why but an electric car, if it is going to cost the same to drive as a conventional ICE car?

    I have mentioned before on WUWT, that the west coast governments of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California are thinking about mileage taxes for electric cars. Electric car owners don’t buy gasoline. So, that lost tax revenue will be have to be collected somewhere else.

    Here are two examples
    ———————————–
    Metro Vancouver’s mobility pricing commission starts consultations
    No firm proposals on the table yet but new revenue sources needed for transportation system, mayors say
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/mobility-pricing-metro-vancouver-1.4371429
    Moving around Metro Vancouver: EXPLORING NEW APPROACHES TO REDUCING CONGESTION (36 pages)
    An exploration of the regional baseline, and implications for mobility pricing
    https://www.itstimemv.ca/uploads/1/0/6/9/106921821/its_time_e1_research_report_-_moving_around_metro_vancouver_-_oct_24.pdf

    Washington Road Usage Charge Pilot Project
    Test Drive the Road Ahead
    GAS TAX WON’T MEET FUTURE NEEDS
    https://waroadusagecharge.org/

  21. Well, my electric meter reports my hourly consumption of electricity, and can be used to deny service remotely. I can easily imagine the government putting such a device on cars, remotely reporting how many miles you have driven over a time period, and activating a kill-switch if you do not stay current on your monthly tax bill. Of course, if you have minimum income, they can charge you lower rates, or none at all, and if you are in government, give you a complete exemption.
    This would get the widespread support of those living on government handouts, since there is no way to exempt them from taxes at the gas pump.

    • It was never about reducing CO2 and former Pemier Gordon Campbell could have cared less about CO2. This is the new cash 💰 cow that everyone in Gov’ts around the world are on the bandwagon about, and why Paris was so wildly popular by all the poor countries in the world in getting wealth transfer from the OCED countries. I wouldn’t be so opposed to all this if it weren’t for the fact that the money collected always disappears down a black hole, never to be accounted for again.

  22. I would be glad to see middle class welfare about to be trimmed or middle class virtue signalling coming at the cost of the conceited believers who buy road-going dodgem cars, instead of coming at the cost of the sensible tax-payers; as is sort of the case with the ‘Tesla Tax’ coming in Norway. However this sounds like nothing more than an extra grab for tax by a bloated government.
    If the government were introducing road tolls in-lieu of fuel excise it would sound like a fair move, but of course this won’t happen. “The Federal Government is looking at ways to more closely link how people use the roads with what they pay” really means “The Federal Government is looking at ways to more closely fleece people who use the roads and maximize what they pay”.
    So Australia is planning on becoming more and more like left-tard Norway, where we already pay eye-watering fuel excise and in addition pay road tolls when crossing every council boundary in one direction. And for that cost, we get inadequate, congested roads with granny friendly low speed limits. And just to add insult to injury, the highway robbery tolls are about to triple at peak-hours and be levied in both directions in pursuit of a ‘zero growth’ policy. That tax grab is despite income tax near enough to half your income and VAT being a quarter of the price of things.
    I guess someone has to pay for this CCS and wind boon-doggle the current government is pursuing.

    But at least the weather is better down under.
    …unless this gullible warming they keep promising ever kicks in.

  23. Given the massive tax take from ‘evil fossil fuel’ cars and given this is used for 101 areas . there really is no choice but to end the ‘tax free ‘ ride EV have , once EV’ get popular. These are just the early signs of that.
    Still EV main problems, range , cost and charging time remain despite the application of fairy dust and wishful thinking the three killer elements holding back EV ownership .
    For lets is be fair must people care little about what powers their car , they do however care about its cost and its availability . So it is an irony that be dealing with EV’s main draw back they are at the same time killing off its ‘cheaper ‘ running cost aspect.

  24. How about we let all the roads go hell then nobody would drive which would take all those CO2 emitting monster out of service. Win-win-win. Less taxes as there would be no roads to maintain. Cleaner air to breath due to non existence of emissions, people losing weight because they no longer sit on their asses to get around.

  25. Many city people need a car for some journeys, but avoid using it in the city center if at all possible. Especially in London, where there are good public transport alternatives.

    However, if they are forced to spend a small fortune on replacing their IC engined car with a new EV, then they will have to justify that outlay by making the EV pay for itself. Which means no more public transport, every journey will then be by car. City traffic jams could become far worse as a result of this policy, with EV owners insisting on using the car for every journey. The low fuel cost will only exacerbate this problem.

  26. “Electric cars are breaking our roads”

    Poppycock!

    The amount of “damage” that passenger vehicles do to our roads is minuscule, whether those cars are powered by fossil fuels, electricity, or unicorn farts. The real damage done to our roads comes from heavy transport vehicles, most especially the ones that run at maximum gross weight loads. Were it not for the heavy trucks, we would go much longer between repair/renovation operations on the highways.

    Our politicians have made a choice that fuel taxes on all vehicles should pay for the maintenance, but even though the heavy transports pay more, what they pay is not proportionate to the wear-and-tear that those heavy transports actually cause.

    On the other hand, I’m a firm believer that the electric vehicles should be paying just as much as other vehicles in their weight class for highway fees (whether based on “fuel” purchase or mileage driven).

    • We could also go far longer with existing gross weight load rules if they built the roads with better materials.

      On NY Route 17 in upstate New York (near Waverly, I believe) you pass (westbound) over a short section of pavement identified by a small sign that indicates “Test Pavement Area.” It has kind of an unusual, “coarse” texture, so if you ever drive over it you’ll probably notice if you’re not distracted by other things.

      This “test” section has been there, untouched, since before I got a driver’s license – more than 3 1/2 decades. During that time it has developed not a single crack, not a single pothole, it has not been resurfaced or repaved. Still in perfect condition.

      They didn’t start using this better road material, of course, claiming it was “too expensive.” I beg to differ. First, it’s obviously cheaper in the long run (problem No. 1 – politicians can never look at long term benefits, only at what they can point to regarding what they’ve done in the here and now), and second, it’s much less disruptive than the constant cycles of breakdown, repair and reconstruction necessary using the cheap crap.

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