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ATA puts the case for South Australian EV tax

McKinley points to up-front costs as main impediment to take-up


Seemingly friendless early on, South Australia’s electric vehicles (EVs) tax has since gained strong if nuanced advocacy.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has given its backing the planned introduction of an EV road user charge.

The ATA highlights the need for an increased uptake of electric vehicles and has called for continued incentives from governments. 

It argues that while fuel duty is in structural decline, revenue is not keeping pace with increases in vehicle kilometres travelled. 

“Governments should accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles and make hydrogen trucks a commercial reality,” acting CEO Bill McKinley says. 

“Road charges used to bring in more revenue than what was spent on roads.

“Without reform, the structural decline in fuel duty will mean roads need to be subsidised from other revenue, which would impact funds allocated for other priorities such as schools and hospitals.  

“The burden of paying for roads would be forced onto the general public, even if they don’t use roads, as well as those who currently don’t have the ability to use an electric vehicle, especially in rural areas.”  

Read about initial responses to the SA electric vehicle  tax, here

McKinley says the existing system is not fair.  

“Opponents of an electric vehicle road user charge need to explain what other taxes should be increased or what services will be cut in order to sustainable and fairly fund safe roads into the future,” McKinley says, and rejects arguments from EV-tax opponents that road user charging is about reducing electric vehicle uptake.  

Research shows us the main disincentive to electric vehicle uptake is the upfront price. Governments should work to reduce these barriers.  

“Even with a road user charge, electric vehicle costs over an average ownership period are likely to be lower than that of petrol and diesel vehicles.”   

The ATA has also called on governments to ensure road user charges for electric heavy vehicles are calculated fairly and transparently.  

“The South Australian electric vehicle road user charge should include heavy vehicles and be set within the existing national system for setting heavy vehicle charges,” McKinley says.  

“Electric trucks are a reality, and the South Australian road user charge must be set in a way which is nationally compatible and does not impose red tape on interstate operators.”


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