The South Australian Government has shocked electric vehicle advocates after announcing it would introduce a road tax for electric vehicle (EV) drivers starting in July 2021.
The announcement by Treasurer Rob Lucas said EV drivers would have to pay for using the road as motorists do when they pay the fuel excise duty.
Mr Lucas’ argument was based on the idea that as EV’s gained popularity the revenue from the fuel excise will drop, and something needed to replace it.
“Someone needs to pay for the road maintenance and upgrade, and it should be the people who are using the road,” Mr Lucas said.
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Mr Lucas added that he expects one or two other Australian jurisdictions would follow suit in the next 12 months.
The decision makes South Australia the only jurisdiction in the world where such a tax exists.
Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari slammed the announcement, stating it’s like responding to a drop in the tobacco tax revenue by slamming a new excise on nicotine gum.
“While governments around the world are using every means possible to incentivise the uptake of electric vehicles, South Australia reckons they have it all wrong,” Mr Jafari said.
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“If the revenue from fuel excise is falling because South Australians are burning less foreign oil, that should be considered a blessing.
“Overall it’s good for air quality, it’s good for the health budget, it’s good for carbon emissions, and it’s great for economic sovereignty.
“The last thing any sane government would do is try to hit the brakes on this trend.
“Unless every government in the world is missing something obvious that Mr Lucas uniquely understands, the Treasurer may want to re-examine the logic that brought him to this point.
“South Australia can’t hit their net zero targets with this kind of policy approach. The state is currently at less than one per cent electric vehicle uptake and now they want to introduce the world’s first EV tax.
“There’s little point spending $18 million on charging infrastructure if you are actively discouraging people from buying the vehicles that can use it.”