The government is being urged to get serious about adapting the road user charge in the light of the expected growth in electric vehicles.
“The spread of electric vehicles through the passenger vehicle (and truck) fleets in coming decades has the potential to substantially alter transport energy use and transport infrastructure, with implications that have to be considered by policy makers,” says a report by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), called Electric Vehicle Uptake: Modelling a Global Phenomenon.
The report looks at the likely electric vehicle uptake for each of 22 counties around the world.The resulting models give an understanding of the forces underlying electric vehicle uptake trends in each of the countries, thus providing estimates of the predicted speeds with which electric vehicle sales will replace sales of fossil fuel vehicles.
“As electric vehicles spread throughout the fleet, revenue from various taxes, especially those on fossil fuel such as excise taxes and carbon taxes, will decline,” explains the report. “These taxes are currently used to fund a substantial part of the cost of road construction and maintenance, funding which will have to be replaced.”
BITRE also points out that existing tax exemptions from taxes like GST for electric vehicles will become increasingly expensive the faster they gain market share of new vehicle purchases.The same applies to subsidies for annual vehicle use.
The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has come out and backed calls for the government to begin adapting the road user charge for electric vehicles.
“Road users contribute to the cost of roads through fuel duty, and as it stands, electric vehicle owners do not pay for the roads they drive on,” said Geoff Crouch, ATA Chair. “Although the fleet is small, the time to act on road user charging for electric vehicles is now. The report indicates the window for getting light vehicle road user charging right, while the electric fleet is small, is rapidly closing.”