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NatRoad goes into bat for EV in road funding

With funds for new projects already falling, a new system is called for


Like a fullyloaded B-double, the opposition to road-tax-free electric vehicle driving has been grinding through the gears, with the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) shifting it higher.

NatRoad points out that both South Australia and Victoria will introduce an electric vehicle tax to offset reduced revenue from fuel excise and that, as electric and low emission vehicles reduce the revenue collected from fuel excise, Australia needs to adjust how it funds transport projects.

But like the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), NatRoad is calling for a consistent approach.

“It is for this reason that NatRoad joins the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) in its call for a national tax on electric vehicles,” it says. 

“We propose the introduction of a national tax on electric vehicles as an interim measure, until the model for funding roads is updated to reflect the introduction of electric vehicles and the reduced tax base represented by declining fuel excise.

“A survey conducted by the AAA this month found that 80 per cent of respondents agreed owners of electric vehicles should contribute towards the costs of roads in some way.”

Read how the ATA approached the EV tax issue, here

NatRoad observes that, at present, the electric vehicle charging proposal is confined to light vehicles.

The technology in this area is accelerating at a much greater rate for light vehicles than for heavy vehicles, partly due to the need to establish a broad network of private and public charging facilities.

In the US, a recent survey found that 92 per cent of survey respondents said their facility is not “very well equipped” to accommodate commercial charging needs.

“We believe that this percentage would also be high in Australia. In contrast, most light vehicles can simply be charged overnight at home,” NatRoad says.

It believes the current fuel tax regime needs a substantial overhaul, with several factors pointing to the need to re-frame this tax regime as soon as possible.

“Continued improvements in the fuel efficiency of the passenger motor vehicle fleet in Australia are likely to contribute to a further slowing of the growth in total fuel consumption, in turn constraining growth in fuel excise in general and therefore placing more of the incidence of the tax on heavy vehicles,” it says.

“The uptake of electric vehicles will further accelerate the rising fuel efficiency of the passenger motor vehicle fleet in Australia.

“Electric vehicles are currently a small proportion of the market and are therefore having little effect on fuel excise receipts at the present time. But electric vehicles are projected to represent around 19 percent of the light vehicle fleet in Australia by 2036-37.

“The impact on fuel consumption of an increasing uptake of electric vehicles will further erode the fuel excise base, underlining that this is not a sustainable tax.

“The need to move to an altogether new form of road charging is clear.

“Singling out electric vehicles ignores the role that different fuel inputs may play in the future vehicle mix and carries old thinking based on one fuel, one vehicle into an uncertain future.”

Meanwhile, the Victorian Budget aims to raise $28 million through an EV road charge, much to the chagrin of Environment Victoria, which says:  “This extra cost discourages people to buy electric vehicles just as they’re taking off, which will make it harder to reduce transport pollution. 

“It contradicts the government’s other policies to encourage electric vehicles, sending a mixed message.” 

And the Electric Vehicle Council (EVC) is urging state governments to clarify whether they intend to push forward with electric vehicle taxes or hold to their 2050 zero greenhouse gas emissions targets.

It points to new University of Queensland research that indicates EV in  Victoria and South Australia taxes will prevent these states from reaching their goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.


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