Chairman of the ACCC Rod Sims has caused a stir with comments that wealthy electric vehicle drivers have an unfair advantage over those who drive petrol cars as they aren’t paying the 41c-a-litre fuel tax.
“People who buy electric cars are travelling on roads without cost, and that’s really not fair,” Mr Sims said.
Instead of the fuel tax, he proposed a levy for all cars based on how far they had driven, rather than fuel consumed.
Mr Sims isn’t the only one who thinks EV owners have an advantage, with RACB general manager public policy Bryce Prosser saying the fuel tax needs reviewing as the uptake of EVs increases.
“RACV is calling for a public inquiry into the problems with the existing funding system, alternative models and (the) likely effect on motorists,” Mr Prosser said.
“The current system relying on fuel excise, GST and various federal and state motoring taxes is complex and broken and should be replaced with a fairer, more equitable system.
“Road-user charging that considers how, when and where we travel is more sustainable and fairer. RACV believes we need an overhaul of the current system.”
Electric Vehicle Council CEO Behyad Jafari has hit back at the claims, saying that Sims’ views failed to take into account key factors such as the health cost to taxpayers from petrol cars’ emissions.
A recent report by the Electric Vehicle Council and Asthma Australia found that EVs could shave health costs per vehicle by $3690.
The report Cleaner and Safer Roads for NSW found emissions from internal combustion engines in the Sydney-Newcastle-Wollongong area creates $3 billion in health costs every year.
“Far from getting an unfair advantage, electric vehicle drivers should be asking why they don’t derive any reward for saving the taxpayer thousands on health costs each year,” Jafari said.
“As things stand, (Sims’) argument is a like claiming smokers unfairly subsidise the health system because of all the tax they pay on cigarettes.
“There’s no doubt a mass transition to electric vehicles will require long-term reform in the way governments collect revenue for roads.
“But as things stand the minority of drivers who are making the switch to EVs are doing vastly more good than harm to the economy and the public good.
“We would encourage Mr Sims to update his thinking, and his lines, when it comes to this important issue.”