opinion |  You pay highway fuel taxes.  Electric vehicle drivers should not have a subsidized ride |  CBC News

opinion | You pay highway fuel taxes. Electric vehicle drivers should not have a subsidized ride | CBC News

Larry Hughes writes that electric cars circumvent the fuel tax system because they run on fuel – electricity – that is not subject to a fuel tax. (Toby Melville/Reuters)

This column is the opinion of Larry Hughes, a professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax. For more information about CBC opinion sectionplease review Instructions.


Anyone who drives on a provincial or regional road knows that roads deteriorate over time and need regular maintenance and eventual replacement. To cover the cost of our road maintenance, drivers pay a fee in the form of a fuel tax whenever they refuel their vehicle.

fuel taxes It varies by province and territory, from 6.2 cents per liter in Yukon to 19.2 cents per liter in Quebec.

In British Columbia, Vancouver and Victoria charge 27 cents and 20 cents a liter, respectively; The rest of the province pays 14.5 cents per liter.

Fuel taxes favor vehicles with lower rates of fuel consumption (measured in liters consumed per 100 km). Vehicles with lower fuel consumption are usually smaller and lighter in weight. The more a car is driven, regardless of its fuel consumption, the higher the cost to the driver.

The amount of tax paid is calculated and collected each time the vehicle is refueled. The system is simple and works if all road vehicles depend on fuel subject to fuel tax.

Electric cars circumvent this system because they run on fuel – electricity – that is not subject to a fuel tax.

Basically a subsidy

As a result, electric vehicle drivers benefit from using Newfoundland and Labrador roads without having to pay for their maintenance.

This is basically a subsidy for electric vehicle drivers.

The problem is twofold. First, most jurisdictions have not devised a way to tax electric vehicle road use. Second, because electric cars, unlike conventional cars, can be charged (i.e. refueled) anywhere, a consistent method of tax collection is difficult, if not impossible.

Many jurisdictions with increasing numbers of electric vehicles have recognized that electric vehicles should contribute to road maintenance and have imposed tolls for road use. At least 18 countries In the United States a form of flat fee for charging electric vehicles for use on the roads. in Canada, Saskatchewan Annual fee of $150 on all electric vehicles.

There are limitations to the flat fee tax when compared to the petrol fuel tax: neither the use of the vehicle on the road nor its volume are taken into account. Quite simply, the flat fee is likely to be unfair to owners of electric vehicles with limited mileage.

Fuel taxes help pay for road maintenance, Hughes writes, so exempting electric vehicle drivers from paying that tax is essentially a subsidy. (Provided by Matt Pott)

The road use of the vehicle can be obtained by comparing the current odometer reading to a previously recorded value. Total mileage can be determined in jurisdictions that mandate vehicle inspections. If the inspection is done every two years, the reading can be done annually by the vehicle owner whose odometer value is for the current year to the vehicle inspection agency.

If the annual vehicle road usage fee depends on the distance traveled, a charge per kilometer is required. The value can be a flat price for all electric vehicles; However, if a vehicle class is used, the size of the vehicle can be taken into account.

One method is to base the annual electric vehicle road use fee on the cost-per-kilometre of the most fuel-efficient petrol vehicle in its vehicle class (found in the annual NRCan fuel consumption guide).

For example, in the mid-size car category, the most fuel-efficient gasoline car is Hyundai elantrawith a combined city and highway fuel consumption rating of 6.7 liters per 100 km. Presentation Road tax in Manitoba From 14 cents a liter (approximately the Canadian average) would require a medium sized owner Tesla Model S to pay less than a penny per kilometer; If the car is driven 15,000 kilometers per year, the road use fee will be about $140.

The argument against electric vehicle owners paying road tolls is that electric vehicles pollute less than internal combustion vehicles. This argument misses a point; The road fee is for road maintenance and is not an environmental tax. Moreover, it is difficult for electric cars to claim that they tread lightly on county roads; Tesla Model S weighs about 930 kg more than Hyundai Elantra.

Road usage fee is a must

The method of charging for the road usage you described is not ideal. It does not distinguish between driving that takes place inside the vehicle’s registration area or outside, for example by tourists.

These problems can be overcome if the vehicle records its position each time it is charged. When it comes time to calculate the annual road use fee, the odometer readings can be exchanged with the jurisdiction in which the charge was made. Although this allows for a fairer distribution of fees, there are potential privacy issues.

Most levels of government are promoting electric vehicles as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector to meet various national, regional or regional emissions targets. If electric vehicles become a large part of the vehicle fleet and these vehicles do not pay for their road use, our road maintenance revenues will decline, and counties will find it increasingly difficult to pay for road maintenance.

The promised future of the electric vehicle should include reasonably designed road tolls.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

2022-05-15 13:46:17

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