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Electric vehicles could face motor tax

Electric vehicles could face motor tax

Wednesday 29 May 2019

Electric vehicles could face motor tax

Electric vehicle drivers - who have so far been exempt from motor tax - could start having to pay their way on the roads if plans put forward by Policy and Resources are approved.

Next month, Deputy Gavin St Pier's committee will put to the States that, rather than taxing motorists through fuel duty, local vehicles should be taxed in accordance with how many miles they cover.

With the number of electric vehicles in the island growing rapidly, resulting in a continuous decrease in fuel consumption, they are likely to be included in the new scheme.

"In 2015 there were just 28 EVs," said President of Environment and Infrastructure Deputy Barry Brehaut. "There are now 310 and 420 hybrids so the market is responding to demand. Environmentally, that has to be a good thing. It also means we have to invest more in charging points and cable infrastructure."

Owning an electric car himself, Deputy Brehaut believes all vehicles should be included in the scheme: "EVs can be heavy and wide road-users, so it would make sense for the owners to contribute. I believe there is a role for government in assisting with the early uptake of EVs. We need to explore the possibility of a financial incentive on the purchase of EVs."

Barry Brehaut

Pictured: E&I President Deputy Barry Brehaut has supported P&R's motor tax plans.

Although electric vehicle drivers would be expected to pay some revenue, ideas for incentives are still on the cards, encouraging motorists to go for a more environmentally-friendly option.

"There are a whole suite of things that need to be thought about," added Deputy St Pier. "For example, whether you have differential rates for different types of vehicle. So, there may be opportunities to provide either incentives or disincentives but these are policy decisions which are not for today, they are for tomorrow."

However, whilst recognising the possible environmental benefits of P&R's suggested system Deputy St Pier said maintaining a steady revenue is the most important issue at the moment.

"The primary focus is how do we ensure that we have sustainable revenues to fund our public services," he concluded. "Motor fuel is a substantial contributor at the moment and that does need to be sustained in the future because, if it isn't, that revenue has to be from somewhere else. It really is as simple as that."

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