The Australian Electric Vehicle Association

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Declining road revenue not the fault of EVs

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia recently published a report encouraging the implementation of a road use charge for EVs as a matter of urgency.  Now, EV drivers don't have a problem with paying their fair share to use the road, but when calls for EVs to be charged exclusively, well we know there's something wrong.

The AEVA has no problem with the concept of road use charging, on a per kilometre travelled basis.  However we believe this levy should be applied equally to all vehicles, including petrol, diesel and LPG fuelled cars, vans, utes and heavy vehicles.  The miniscule number of plug-in vehicles on the road can hardly be blamed for a structural deficiency in a federal revenue stream.  Moreover, EVs have so many more benefits to society and the economy, that charging them now would be a truly retrograde step.

We have circulated the attached media release amongst Australia's major newspapers.

AEVA Press Release Nov 21st 2019.doc

 

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I'd suggest there is another issue missing from the current debate, which also exists with the fuel excise and is not EV-specific. Still, such a reform represents one of the few opportunities to address it: inequality. The fuel excise, and obviously a road-use charge, has a greater impact on those who must travel greater distances. All things being equal, this would make sense: the more driving you do, the more you contribute to the upkeep of those roads. However, all things are not equal: rural communities naturally must travel greater distances, and our inner cities are dominated by our wealthiest citizens, meaning those least able to pay (low-income earners and our drought-battling farmers) end up paying more than anyone else. I don't have a clear answer to the problem, as this is a challenging issue, but it is one that should be debated. In a similar way to how we are seeing entrenched inequality in distributed renewables (low-income earners would benefit most from solar power, but can least afford the capital outlay, leading to inequitable power bills, compounded by increasing constraints on feed-in tariffs benefiting early movers—who again, are typically are not low-income earners), we are likely to see a pattern in transportation.
Yes indeed - regressive taxes are the worst.  Considering all major funding for roads could easily be coverd by income taxes (which are progresive at least) it seems absurd they are seeking to expand this approach.  On the forum, someone suggested a tyre tax - levied on each and every tyre which touches the ground :) Credit for cleverness!